Wild Garlic, Three Ways

Three simple recipes for making use of all the gorgeous wild garlic around at the moment…

If you’re lucky enough to live near some woods and can get out for a walk, the wild garlic is glorious at the moment. The sweet, heady scent of it takes me right back to boarding school – it used to grow in the woods around our boarding house – and to this day the smell reminds me of walking down a county lane on a warm spring days with friends. Wild garlic is easy to cook with – stir it into pasta sauces, shred a bit of it on a salad, add to stews, or make soups, dips and pestos. It’s easy to pick – focus on the middle-sized leaves, that are nice and green and not too woody – and also collect some of the sweet white flowers too, which are great for garnishes and putting in soups and pestos. Give it a good wash and dry it by patting it with a dry tea towel before you use it.

Below are three of my favourite, really simple things to do with wild garlic.

Wild Garlic Dip

Someone cut this Melissa Helmsley recipe out of The Telegraph Magazine for me recently, and I tweaked it a bit, adding some of my favourite things. I reckon it’s now pretty moreish – I ate an entire bowl of it in one sitting….

  • 100g wild garlic leaves
  • 20g basil, stalks and leaves
  • 1 x 400g tin of butter beans, drained
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of soured cream
  • 2-4 anchovy fillets

Blitz everything together, season to taste, scoop into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and a few twists of black pepper, and some wild garlic flowers. You can use whatever you like as your shovel of choice – crudites, crisps, toasted flatbreads, crackers or sourdough.

Wild Garlic Soup

Took this recipe from Riverford Organic and it’s a really good one, simple to  make, minimal ingredients. We’ve been eating it all week. Keep aside some of the white garlic flowers for garnishing (I put them in a bowl with cold water and they keep well in the fridge like this).

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 600g potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1.2 litres veg or chicken stock
  • 50g wild garlic leaves, shredded
  • crème fraîche or double cream, to serve
  • wild garlic flowers (optional)
  • salt and pepper

Heat some oil in a large saucepan, add the onion and fry on a low heat for eight minutes, until softened without colouring.
Then, add the potatoes and stock, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Add the wild garlic leaves, reserving a few shreds for garnishing the soup.
Blitz with a hand blender until smooth, with flecks of wild garlic leaves.
Reheat in the pan, seasoning to taste and serve with a swirl of crème fraîche or double cream, a few shreds of wild garlic and a few wild garlic flowers.

Wild Garlic Pesto

  • Two – three big handfuls of wild garlic, roughly chopped
  • A small handful of fresh basil
  • A handful of toasted pine nuts (just brown them in a dry frying pan beforehand)
  • Half a cup of olive oil
  • One handful of grated parmesan
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • Plenty of salt and pepper

Blitz all the ingredients together in a food processor. The amounts aren’t precise because it depends a bit on what you like. You may need more garlic, olive oil, cheese or pine nuts, just keep tasting until it feels right, adding little amounts of everything as you go – what you do want though is a really rich, bright green paste, that’s thick and not too oily or runny. Once it’s all blended, keep it in a clean, empty jar in the fridge and it should keep for a week or ten days. Stir into pasta, or rub on chicken before roasting or have with toast and eggs.

 

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