Stinging Nettle Soup at Staple & Fancy"/>
This is not something I would have ordered if a good friend of mine hadn't described it as the most gorgeous nettle soup she'd ever had in her life. How does one ignore a recommendation like that? Even someone like me who isn't a huge soup eater?
Photo by Julien Perry
Last night at Staple & Fancy, the two of us split a bowl of the life-changing soup ($9), piping-hot on a warm Seattle evening. The presentation of this thing was the best part for me: We watched as our server set down a white bowl in front of us, a stark contrast to the pink pickled shallots and bright yellow yolk of the fried duck egg sitting inside. He then took a metal pitcher and slowly tilted it over the bowl, spilling out the brightest green liquid I have ever seen. Soon the entire bowl was green and glistening. The soup is a delicate medley of onions, butter, and nettles foraged by Jeremy Faber.
How to describe the taste still escapes me. It was a little sweet, almost as if there were pureed peas in there, but there were not. The flavor was plant-like but not earthy. My friend said it was like drinking straight chlorophyll, but I've never experienced that (has anyone?), so I can't say the description fits. What I can say with certainty is that this soup acted as a fantastic dipping sauce for just about everything we ate that night: bread, pork, gnocchi, even halibut.
This foraged dish may sound strange, but it's both refreshing and comforting, and takes the sting out of any preconceived notions I had of ordering soup as an appetizer.