On the cycle home from work yesterday I picked a handful of Wild Garlic from the shady banks of the River Rea in Cannon Hill Park. Wild Garlic is growing in abundance at the moment and some of the shoots are now starting to flower, you can identify the plant by its scent as the air hangs with a light garlic smell where it is growing, it’s usually a stronger smell when the weather is warm and it is sunny. I’ve used the thin green biennial herb leaves in pesto and added the buds to pasta dishes to provide a pleasant onion taste.
From March until it flowers at the end of May (sometimes as late as June) it’s worth grabbing a few handfuls to add to salads, or perhaps chopped up into mustard sauces for spring lamb or chicken. Go for the younger leaves and use the flowers to garnish soup like you would with chive flowers also. Wild Garlic is a fairly adaptable wild herb which offers a lot in cooking as much as a punch.
Wild Garlic Pesto
- 50g of pumpkin/sun flower seeds
- 75g of wild garlic, washed and then chopped
- 30g of parmesan
- Zest of lemon and juice to season
- 100ml of olive oil
Toast the seeds in a dry pan until you can smell the seeds roasting, be careful as they can burn this will take around 3 minutes and you will hear a cracking sound once they are ready. Add all of the other ingredients to a pestle and mortar and breakdown the ingredients with the pestle until the it become a rough paste. Add the oil slowly until it becomes a sloppy puree. Add more lemon juice and seasoning to taste. Place in a clean jar, it can last for a few days if kept in the fridge.