Hey pesto…its wild garlic season
Bluebells are a fantastic reason for a woodland walk in April and May but it’s wild garlic that pulls me to the woods at this time of the year. It’s common to find a patch near bluebells, you might smell the garlic aroma before you see the carpet of plants.
So what are you looking for? Wild garlic leaves are a wider version of bluebell leaves, when in flower the full white bloom towers above the leaves. The flowers were not quite out when we went this weekend so sadly I only have a photo of the bud to share.
It’s a great challenge to try and find a patch but once you have I promise you will be back time and time again. I’ve now trained Max to sniff out a secret patch of wild garlic.
So what can you eat? You can eat the whole plant, the roots and flowers have the strongest flavour as where the leaves offer a mild garlic taste.
You can use wild garlic as you do chives to flavour salads but it has many more possibilities. My favourite recipes include a walnut and wild garlic pesto, a really garlicky marinade for chicken or a wild garlic butter which is wonderful on toast or melted on seasonal vegetables like asparagus, new potatoes or roasted beetroot.
Walnut and wild garlic pesto:
Walnuts give a real earthiness to pesto and in this case stands up well against the bolder garlic flavour. You could use pine nuts or almonds if you don’t have walnuts to hand.
- Large bunch of wild garlic, you can include the flowers
- 75g finely grated parmesan cheese
- 75g walnuts
- 125ml to 150ml Good quality oil, I used cold pressed rapeseed oil but you could use olive oil
- Large pinch of Sea Salt
1. Lightly toast the walnuts in a dry pan over a medium heat. Stir regularly to ensure they don’t burn. When they are lightly browned tip them onto a plate to cool.
2. Finely grate the parmesan cheese
3. Add the whole bunch of wild garlic, grated parmesan and cooled walnuts to a food processor. Whizz until finely chopped.
4. Now add a large pinch of sea salt and pour in the oil until the pesto it has the desired consistency.
5. Transfer to a clear jar or container, top with a little oil and keep in the fridge. The pesto will last for up to 2 weeks if you keep the oil topped up.
Wild Garlic Butter:
This butter is super easy and super versatile:
– spread on toast for quick garlic bread
– toss season vegetables such as asparagus, new potatoes, beans
– Stuff chicken breasts or place a knob on panfried fish…the list goes on…
- 250g Salted butter at room temperature
- Large handful of wild garlic leaves, you can include the flowers
1. Add the wild garlic to a food processor, whizz until finally chopped.
2. Cube the butter and add to the food processor. Now blend until you have a smooth green butter.
3. Store in a container in the fridge. Alternatively roll little sausages of the butter in grease proof paper and freeze it for another day.