Spring has certainly sprung with blossoms and flowers everywhere, both youthful and beautiful with the sweetest of smells. However, there is another more pungent scent to be found at this time, especially in open woodlands. It’s wild garlic, it is savoury without being overpowering and is so enticing to pick. Small handfuls are enough to add flavour to your dishes, as well as vibrant hues of glorious green. Here is a selection of ideas and recipes for you to enjoying once you have foraged for your fresh leaves. Try to pick before the white star like flowers appear, as the younger leaves are more tender and have a better flavour – March to April is ideal.
Green & White Eggs
Prepare scramble eggs in the usual way, just before it fully sets stir through a small handful of washed and shredded wild garlic and fold in dollops of cream cheese. Serve immediately with toasted sourdough on the side – perfect for brunch.
Wild Garlic Soup
30ml (2tbsp) olive oil
1 leek, trimmed and finely sliced
2 celery sticks, trimmed and finely sliced
500g potatoes, peeled and diced
1 litre vegetable stock
100g wild garlic, washed and shredded
Freshly grated nutmeg
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
To serve: Either créme fraîche or coconut yogurt and a sprinkling of Aleppo pepper
- Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the leek and celery, lower the heat and sweat for 5 minutes.
- Add the potatoes and the stock, bring to the boil then reduce and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
- Add the wild garlic, saving a little for garnish, then either blend in a liquidiser or with a hand-held blender.
- Season with nutmeg to your taste as well as salt and pepper.
- Serve garnished with either créme fraîche or coconut yogurt and sprinkle with Aleppo pepper if using.
Wild Garlic Pesto
Delicious served with either pasta, as above with homemade spaghetti (see previous blog for recipe). Or spread on to freshly toasted sourdough or ciabatta for crostini canapes, as below.
100g wild garlic, washed
50g pine nuts
50g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
5ml (1 tsp) salt flakes
freshly ground black pepper
75ml olive oil
- Place the wild garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese in a food processor and season with the salt and pepper. Blitz for a few seconds until roughly chopped.
- Slowly add the olive oil through the funnel and continue to blitz until well blended.
- Check seasoning to taste and place in a screw top jar and cover with a thin layer of extra olive oil, seal and store in the fridge for up to three weeks.
Wild Garlic Colcannon
Why not give your regular mashed potato a foraged twist by making a wild garlic version of the Irish classic Colcannon. Simply boil peeled potatoes in salted water, drain well and mash. Ideally use a potato ricer to get a super light texture. Add warm milk and butter to the mashed potatoes. Tip: the best way to do this is to mash your potatoes in the pan, push to one side and warm the milk and melt the butter on the other side of the pan. Fold in a large handful of finely shredded washed wild garlic and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg to taste. Stir well and place in a serving bowl. Make a dip in the middle of the mash pile and add a pool of extra melted butter before serving. Deliciously rich I know but goes really well with pan fried fish or grilled sausages.