Wild Garlic – A Seasonal Delicacy
When tender herbs and wild garlic leaves start to sprout from the ground, I take it as a sight of spring.
Wild garlic is a member of the Allium family which grows wild in the UK. Unlike common garlic, their flat pointy leaves are used for cooking instead of the small bulb. The tender leaves have a sweet yet strong garlicky aroma and flavour, and the flowers are edible too.
They are said to be best when foraged from riverbanks and woodland areas, but these days you can buy them from farmer’s markets and specialty grocers during early spring. The season for wild garlic is extremely short and precise, and I believe that’s why it is considered a truly special culinary treat. I hope it remains seasonal, as we definitely don’t want to see them in grocery stores all year round like asparagus and apples!
I live in busy London and I don’t have access to gorgeous woodlands and moors, and therefore I buy wild garlic from my local farmer’s market and try to grow them in my patio garden. I know it sounds strange to grow a wild plant in the garden, but it surprises me year after year with tender leaves and flowers in early spring – and they’re beautiful too!
Wild Garlic Pesto
- Wild garlic – small bunch (washed)
- Curley parsley – few leaves (washed)
- Blanched almonds – 1 tablespoon
- Grated parmesan – 2 tablespoons
- Olive oil – 2-3 tablespoons
- Place all the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend for a minute or two until the mixture is smooth and bright green in colour.
- Add a splash of water if necessary to get a smooth pesto.
- Mix the pesto with hot boiled spaghetti or pasta and serve it with a poached egg on top.