Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Wild For Garlic

A "sea" of wild garlic


The first signs that the end of the Winter is nigh came to me last weekend in the farmers market. My regular organic vegetable stall was selling wild garlic. Wild garlic can start to appear in the woods as early as February, but at that point the leaves aren’t quite big yet. You can find them especially in shaded areas and this  is the best time of the year to harvest them.

Wild garlic can be eaten raw or cooked. All parts of the plant are edible. Although they have a very noticeable garlicky flavour, of course, they are milder than garlic cloves. You can add them to soups, make risotto, eat them raw, sautée them and make an aromatic pesto.

If you are eating wild garlic for the  first time, here is a useful tip: do not eat lots of leaves at once, as your body needs to get used to it gradually. Otherwise, you may get diarrhoea.

Caution: As wild garlic is very similar to Lily of the Valley (Lily of the Valley is lethal!), one needs to be careful if one decides to find some in the wild. To make sure you are picking the right plant, check the following: the young plant has a matt green colour as opposed to a shiny glossy colour; the leaves  are a bit stretchy, when you pull them out: and, once you have a leaf in your hand, it should have a very strong smell of garlic.

I have compiled here 3 easy recipes using wild garlic. Hope you enjoy them!

The ingredients
Put all ingredients into a food processor and blitz.
My wild garlic pesto! Very aromatic.
Add a tablespoon into a pan of cooked pasta

and have it as a light, aromatic and
flavoursome lunch

Wild garlic pesto
Makes approx. 350g

INGREDIENTS

100g wild garlic, washed
50g pine nuts (or any other nut of your choice i.e. walnuts, almonds)
Juice of ½ lemon
150ml extra virgin organic olive oil
50g hard goat’s cheese (or parmesan)
Sea salt to taste

METHOD

Put it all in a food processor and blitz it up.

Add it to your pasta, use as a spread on your toasted slice of bread, in omelettes, potato salad or even added to soups or casseroles for that extra flavour.

It keeps on the fridge for up to 3 weeks or it can be frozen.

The ingredients
Sautee leeks and potatoes. Add stock to the pan and let it
simmer until is cooked
Line the soup bowl with some leaves of wild garlic
My potato, leek and wild garlic soup!

Wild garlic, leek and potato soup
Serves 4
INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, finely sliced
4 large (about 800g) floury potatoes, diced
600ml hot homemade chicken or vegetable stock
About 100g stale sourdough or any wholemeal bread, torn into pieces
3-4 handfuls wild garlic, washed but whole
Extra-virgin olive oil, to serve
1 dried red chilli, sliced, to serve (optional)
METHOD
Gently heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in the potatoes and season, cover and reduce the heat to low. Sweat it for 15 minutes, stirring a few times.

Add the stock to the pan, increase the heat slightly and bring the soup up to a simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are really soft (approx. 8 minutes). Add the pieces of bread and mash them gently into the soup.

Season. Remove from the heat, line the soup bowls with the wild garlic, then pour in the soup (or, if you prefer, just add the wild garlic into the pan to wilt).

Put the extra-virgin olive oil and the chilli, if using.


halve or quarter potatoes, put them in a pan with water and
let them boil
Slice and chopp the rest of the ingredients,
put into a bowl and mix
When the potatoes are cooked, add the mixed ingredients
into the pan and stir gently
My potato salad with organic venison sausages! A lovely
lunch
Wild garlic potato salad

INGREDIENTS

800g Fir apple potatoes (or Charlotte), halved
20 wild garlic leaves, finely sliced
A bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely sliced
1 tablespoon capers, chopped
1tsp Dijon mustard
1tsp wholegrain mustard
2tbsp white wine vinegar
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

Put the potatoes in a large pan with salted water and boil for approximately 15 minutes.
In a small bowl, add all the other ingredients together and mix. Drain the potatoes and add in the dressing.

Some of the ingredients and their functional properties

Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum): also known as Ramsons or Bear’s garlic. Wild garlic has similar healing properties to the cultivated garlic. It is very good for your digestive system, immune system and the cardiovascular system. It helps to control  blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels (it helps to reduce blood stickyness). Wild garlic has antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. It also prevents colds and flus. Wild garlic is known to ease stomach pain and acts as a digestive tonic. It can be used in the treatment of diarrhoea, wind and colic.

Till next week!

3 comments:

  1. These recipes seem very easy to make and are very inspiring. Great seasonal tip! Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. thank you. Had carefully transported some leaves home in my pocket the other day and not sure what to do with them. Love free food!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you Helena! Sorelle, there are so much we can do with "free food". Thanks for your comment.

    ReplyDelete