Foraging for wild garlic
Walking is one of life’s pleasures, for me, and one that combines stunning scenery, spring sunshine with foraging ticks all the right boxes. The season for wild garlic (ransoms) is relatively brief so keep your eyes open for the plant with its long, spear-shaped leaves in woody areas, hedge banks or waysides from March. From April to June, it has delicate, edible white flowers on top of a thin green stem. Wild garlic makes a good alternative to garlic or chives in dishes, but its more subtle flavour means it is best eaten raw or very lightly cooked.
Fresh pesto is an obvious choice for wild garlic, but it can also be used as a base for a salad dressing diluted with a splash of warm water or citrus juices, or as a topping for pizza or bruschetta with goat’s cheese, baby spinach leaves and toasted almonds.
Wild garlic pesto
• 2 good handfuls of wild garlic leaves, flowers reserved if any, roughly chopped
• 1 handful blanched almonds
• 100ml/3½fl oz mild extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
• 1 handful finely grated parmesan
• sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 – Put the wild garlic leaves and almonds in a mini food processor (or use a stick blender and beaker) and process until finely chopped.
2 – Add the oil in two batches and continue to blend to make a coarse paste. Stir in the Parmesan and season to taste. Spoon the pesto into a bowl and drizzle over a little extra olive oil, which will help to preserve the pesto and keep its colour. Store for up to 2 days in the fridge.