The flavour is actually quite mild & doesn’t stand up to much cooking. Also it is free – this is austerity Britain everyone should be picking it. Even for those who never go foraging wild garlic is easy to find & identify, just follow your nose (it’s nickname is stinkplant). It grows in woodland, lots of parks have it (even in large cities) and near my house it can be found a few feet from the road.
Wild garlic is just perfectly in season at the moment. The leaves are still tender & it is just starting to flower. I have tried a number of lovely recipes in the last week but this pesto is easily my favourite.
I first made it last year & my sister, Kate has not stopped talking about it since then. We had it swirled into soup but she really enjoyed it on pizza. You can use it in the same way you would use regular pesto. Eaten cold it is pretty pungent ( I love it on sandwiches) but mellows with warmth, such as on pasta.
I found a bunch of recipes online for wild garlic pesto but I like this one best with hazelnuts instead of pine nuts. I have made it a few times now & find I always need more olive oil than most recipes state. Anyway I thought I would share it in the hope that it will inspire people to make use of a delicious, healthy & free resource.
You can use wild garlic like a herb in cooking. Both the leaves & the flowers taste delicious. Use it like you would use fresh basil or chives, as a garnish or added at the very end of the cooking process. It is best raw or slightly warmed. I added some to some crushed new potatoes & buttered leeks the other day – super yum! It is also great with eggs, in salads, mashed potatoes and I reckon it would make a great dip with some yoghurt (I am planning to try that later).
Wild Garlic Pesto
100g wild garlic leaves
75g Crushed roasted hazelnuts
1/2-1 tsp Salt
150ml Olive oil
1. Make sure the garlic leaves are clean & put them in a blender. Add three quarters of the olive oil, hazelnuts, salt & cheese. Blitz everything really well.
2. Now taste the pesto & add the rest of the ingredients as required. You may find you need more cheese as I had a particularly pungent Parmesan. Basically adjust the taste to suit you.
3. Store in a glass jar & pour a little olive oil over the surface of the pesto to stop oxidisation.