If you go down in the woods today your sure of a big surprise, well, a garlicky one. It is at that time of year again when a little bit of foraging can give you amazing returns. However it is not like the garlic cloves that you would normally purchase from the super market. The wild garlic cloves are much shorter and if you decided to try and dig them out it would lead to no foliage the following year. With wild garlic it is all about the leaves and to some extent the flowers.
Ideally if you go hunting for some wild garlic you are looking for a plant that does not have too many flowers on it as this can change the flavour of the leaf, causing it to become more bitter. It is around this time of year, just before the flowers open that you are most likely to find delicious closed buds which have amazing flavour, similar to regular garlic but milder, and are perfect in many dishes. We thought that we would give you a couple of recipes to try out with this delicious seasonal treat.
Wild Garlic And Pesto Soup
For the soup
- 50 g butter
- 100 g onions, peeled and roughly chopped
- 200 g potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 300 ml hot chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 bunch of fresh wild garlic
- 2 tbsp double cream
For the pesto
- 2 handfuls wild garlic, chopped
- extra virgin olive oil
- 50 g hazelnuts, skins removed and toasted
- 50 g parmesan, roughly cubed
1. For the soup: melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and potatoes, lightly frying, then season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Add the stock bit by bit to the potato and onion mixture so that it combines well with the mixture. Once all the stock has been added bring the pan to a boil, reduce the heat and cook until the potatoes and onions are tender.
3. Stir in the wild garlic leaves and cook for 1 more minute. Add the double cream and stir.
4. Transfer the soup to a food processor and blend to a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
5. For the pesto:crush together the hazelnuts, parmesan and wild garlic leaves in a pestle and mortar, or a food processor. Season with some pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and mix well. Set aside.
6. Serve the soup in bowls with the pesto drizzled over the top.
Salmon And Wild Garlic
- 500 g large new potatoes, scrubbed to remove skin
- freshly ground salt and black pepper
- 100 ml milk
- 40 g butter
- 4-6 spring onions, chopped
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 salmon, about 125g each, skinned
- 5 tbsp Noilly Prat vermouth
- 200 ml single cream
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- small handful baby spinach leaves or wild garlic, roughly shredded
- deep-fried enoki mushrooms, to serve
1. Boil the potatoes in a saucepan of lightly salted water for about 12 minutes until just tender. Drain well and return to the pan to dry off a little over the lingering heat.
2. Meanwhile, place the milk in a saucepan and heat until on the point of boiling. Using a fork, mash the potatoes, gradually working in as much hot milk as you need until you have a smooth puree.
3. Meanwhile, heat 20g of butter in a frying pan. Add the spring onions and fry, stirring now and then, for 1-2 minutes. Beat the spring onions into the potato, season well and keep warm.
4. Heat the remaining butter with the olive oil in a large frying pan.
5. Season the salmon with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Add to the pan and fry for about 2 minutes on each side, or longer for thicker-cut fillets, until just firm.
6. Remove the salmon from the pan and keep warm. Add the Noilly Prat and allow to bubble for 1-2 minutes, then add the cream and crushed garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until reduced by about a third.
7. Season the cream sauce with salt and freshly ground pepper, then add the shredded wild garlic leaves or spinach and cook for a few seconds until wilted.
8. To serve, spoon the mashed potato mixture onto the centre of four warmed serving plates. Place a fish fillet on top and spoon over the wild garlic sauce.
We hope you have a good time if you decide to go foraging for wild garlic, just remember it’s the leaves and the flowers not the bulbs that you are after.
Have you ever gone foraging for wild garlic or any other wild plants? Do you have any amazing recipes that you would like to share? Please let us know in the comments.