What to eat in April: Wild Garlic

Hooray it’s Wild Garlic time again

This is the first wild spring green I felt confident about picking. I now pick a much bigger range of wild greens but this still remains my favourite. It’s easy to spot with its broad green leaves and garlicky smell and is found in shady damp spots. You mainly eat the leaves but the white star-like flowers are edible too and are nice sprinkled on a salad. You can also pickle the unopened flower buds and use like capers.

I love the leaves just roughly chopped in scrambled eggs and omelettes or baked in a quiche ( well I did before turning vegan!) It’s also great in salads.

My favourite thing to do with it though is to make wild garlic pesto. It packs a real punch. It’s gorgeous just stirred through pasta or used to flavour savoury muffins scones or soda bread.

So I’m sharing with you my recipes for both the pesto and wild garlic soda bread.

Happy foraging!

Wild Garlic Pesto 

Makes enough pesto for 2 jars (or about 10 servings)

Ingredients:

  • 75g almonds (or a mix of almonds and pumpkin seeds.
  • 75g Parmesan (or pecorino for a vegetarian alternative) plus extra to serve
    (optional)
  • 160 ml virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil, plus extra to serve
  • 75ml olive oil
  • 100g wild garlic
  • Juice 1 lemon

Utensils:

  • Chopping board
  • Sharp knife
  • 1 baking tray
  • Food processor or pestle and mortar
  • Wooden spoon
  • Jars or tubs for storing pesto
  • Lemon squeezer
  • Cheese grater

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 180C
2. Spread the nuts out on a baking tray or roasting tin. Place in oven for 10
minutes then put onto a plate to cool
3. Wash wild garlic and pat dry with a towel
4. Grate the cheese & squeeze the lemon
5. Place cheese, and wild garlic into food processor with cooled nuts and whizz until thoroughly chopped. Add lemon juice and oil and whizz again until forms a chunky paste. Your pesto is now ready.

If you don’t have a food processor you can finely chop the wild garlic then grind them in a pestle and mortar with the nuts and cheese, adding oil near the end.

Put the pesto into a sterilised jar, cover the surface with a little more olive oil and put a lid on it. It will keep for 2-3 weeks like this in the fridge or put into plastic pots and freeze for longer

Adaptations

  • You can make a dairy-free version by just leaving out the cheese and swapping the almonds for cashew nuts. Or use a tablespoon of nutritional yeast or even 1/2 a tablespoon of white miso paste is nice.
  • You can make a less garlicky pesto by using half and half wild garlic and half kale leaves.
  • You can use any other nut in place of almonds e.g. pine nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts or even pumpkin seeds.

Wild Garlic Pesto Soda Bread

Ingredients

  • 250g plain white flour
  • 250g plain wholemeal flour
  • ½ teaspoon ( tsp) salt
  • 1 tsp Bicarbonate of soda
  • 200 ml yoghurt
  • 230 ml milk
  • 4 tablespoons pesto

Utensils:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Spatula
  • Measuring spoon
  • Measuring jug
  • Weighing scales
  • Chopping board
  • Baking tray
  • Bread knife
  • Wire cooling rack

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees for conventional ovens or 180 degrees for fan ovens
  2. lightly oil a flat baking tray.
  3. Weigh out both your flours in a large bowl, mix together and add your salt and bicarbonate of soda.
  4. In a separate jug, measure out your yogurt and milk. Add pesto and stir together.
  5. Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with your hands or a spatula until it just forms a dough.
  6. Turn out on to a lightly floured board and use your hands to form into a ball.
  7. Transfer onto the oiled baking sheet and Use a sharp knife to draw a deep cross in your dough.
  8. Now just pop the tray into the oven to bake for 40 minutes until the bread has risen slightly and turned a nice golden colour. You’ll know if the bread is fully baked if it sounds hollow when tapped underneath.
  9. When you’re happy that your bread is baked, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a wire rack. If you like you can place a slightly damp tea-towel over the loaf as it cools to prevent the crust becoming too hard.

Serve slightly warm with butter.

Is nice toasted and topped with wilted spinach and a poached egg

Adaptions

  • For a gluten free version just use a gluten-free flour
  • For dairy-free version use, 300ml  of your usual plant milk with l tablespoon cider vinegar and  You will need to use a cheese-free pesto too. (Alternatively, just whizz 2 handfuls of wild garlic in a food processor with a little olive or rapeseed oil)

Remember to wash your garlic leaves before using!

Posted in Foraging, Recipes.

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