Spring time brings a wild range of products at its best. A few weeks ago, Jayne and I went for a walk to pick up enough wild garlic to make a small batch of wild garlic pesto. At this time, it was only the start of seeing the wild garlic blooming everywhere. After a series of walks in West Sussex, we have been lucky to find more patches of wild garlic, or should I say a sea of wild garlic!! You can’t really miss it as the smell is pungent – I love this smell! Taking with me a pair of scissors and a small bag, I went foraging for wild garlic and I came back with a full bag.
We haven’t been in London for the last 6 weeks and I start to find my time in West Sussex really pleasant. That’s amazing how a bit of fresh air and different scenery can help to reset your mind. Just on our doorsteps, a multitude of wild products are growing, see my next post about Elderflowers. When you realise the “Bienfaits” of eating wild garlic, you will find a new hobby, foraging. Exploring your neighbourhood and discovering what is on offer to you is one of the best feelings, you will be really satisfied. Below are a couple of recipes I have made this Spring with wild garlic. I would like to insist that the recipes that you can read on this blog are about sustainability and seasonality and the two recipes demonstrate that with time, flair and passion, great dishes can be served on a table.
But before you start, read the following carefully: when foraging, please be mindful where you pick your wild garlic. Do not pick from the roadside as the risk of pollution from passing cars is high. Go deeper into the woods to find clean leaves. Take care to pick only the leaves and do not tug as you may pull the bulb out. You want to leave the bulbs in the ground for next year! I recommend using small scissors to cut the leaves. Do refer to pictures to make sure you are selecting only wild garlic. Remember to wash thoroughly when you get home before using in a recipe! And, happy foraging!
To make the wild garlic pesto, only five ingredients are used.
Ingredients: 100 g wild garlic; 50 g grated Parmesan; 1 tsp of mustard mustard; vegetable oil; 50 g grounded almonds
Method: In a blender, or Nutribullet, add all the ingredients together with a pinch of salt and 25 ml of vegetable oil. Add gradually the oil into it to obtain a paste consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
I am cooking from home with the ingredients available in the kitchen. You can add your own twist too. You can add some rocket to get a lighter garlic flavour. You can use olive oil to get a stronger flavour. I have used ground almond but you can use toasted hazelnuts or toasted pine nuts.
This pesto goes well with barbecued meat/fish, with crudités (use as a dip) and pasta. A spoon of wild garlic pesto with your pasta and grated Parmesan on top, you can’t go wrong! Or with a warm potato salad like we had last night. The choice is yours! The pesto can last for a week in a plastic container in the fridge.
This is already a wonderful vegetarian dish or, leave out the Parmesan and you have a delicious vegan dish to serve to friends and family, or just to enjoy yourself!
Something different, but as tasty as the pesto: Wild Garlic Soup. Wild garlic soup is so simple to make and has a beautiful freshness. Use vegetable stock for a vegetarian dish. Substitute the butter and cream for a vegan option – they’re all delicious!
Ingredients: 40g butter: 8 new potatoes sliced; 1.5L vegetables or chicken stock; 500g wild garlic; 50ml double cream or a tablespoon of creme fraiche; salt and pepper.
Method: Melt the butter over a medium heat and sweat the potatoes with a pinch of salt until soft. If you keep a lid on then it will help to cook faster and to have a better result. When soft add the double cream or creme fraiche, then the vegetable or chicken stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Add the wild garlic to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Blend the soup until smooth, the vibrant green colour should indicate you when to stop blending. Do it by small quantity. Less soup in the blender bowl, faster it will go and better the result is.
And so, the list of recipes using wild garlic is endless. Here, a few examples I’m going to be trying over the next few weeks: wild garlic butter, wild garlic and cheese tart, wild garlic chimichurri, sautéed wild garlic in a pan with a knob of butter served with a warm potato salad… let me know how would you want use it and I’ll try it!