Recipe: Wild Thing
There’s something innately satisfying about foraging for food. It takes us back to our hunter gatherer roots, marking the passing of the seasons and rediscovering something forgotten just months earlier. Also, unlike growing food which requires effort and skill, the joy of finding something offered up by nature for free is almost unparalleled.
Add to this the satisfaction of transforming your spoils into a delicious and healthy meal and the experience is complete.
Wild Garlic is a wild relative of chives native to Europe and Asia and common in much of the lowland British Isles. It grows in deciduous woodlands where colonies are frequently associated with bluebells, especially in ancient woodland.
The leaves can be used as a salad, in soup, added to sauces or as a substitute for pesto in lieu of basil (see below). The stems are preserved by salting and eaten as a salad in Russia and closer to home they’re used to coat Cornish Yarg. The bulbs and flowers are edible too.
Just like the basil variety, wild garlic pesto has lots of uses; it can be thrown through pasta, swirled through soups and stews or served as a condiment or salad dressing.
If you’re local to Bristol, find out where you can find a wild garlic glade in full flower late in May. If you can’t go foraging then your local greengrocer should be able to get hold of some for you.
This recipe makes one large jar which will keep for at least a week in the fridge. You can replace the hazelnuts with a nut of your choice and the parmesan with any salty hard cheese.
Wild Garlic Pesto
100g wild garlic
50g Parmesan grated
50g hazelnuts, skinned & toasted
lemon juice, to taste
salt & pepper
Thoroughly wash your wild garlic and place in a food processor. Blitz until fairly well broken up.
Add your Parmesan and process further to help break down the garlic leaves.
Finally add your hazelnuts, turn the machine back on and add olive oil to your desired consistency.
Season and add lemon juice to taste.