RECIPE: Wild Garlic

March 8, 2011 § 2 Comments

It felt like spring today. I actually had lunch outside (admittedly in my jumper and coat) and sat on the grass (which was wet but come on, this is Wales). This is a good sign since I am going slightly mad waiting to wear flipflops and my skin is crying out for vitamin D.
I noticed on a cycle a few days ago that the wild garlic is starting to spring up. It’s the perfect find for a foraging newbie as it’s easy to spot in woodlands (look for the wide leaves, small white flowers and, err, the smell of garlic) and easy to cook with. If you’re nervous about picking leaves from the outdoors this is a perfect place to start. There are myriad recipes floating about on the internet for what to do once you have your leaves, but these are some of the best.

JAMIE OLIVER’s wild garlic soda bread

• olive oil
• 1 small handful of washed wild garlic leaves, or spinach with a crushed garlic clove
• 250ml buttermilk
• 175g wholemeal flour, plus extra for dusting
• 175g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
• 1 tsp sea salt
• ¾ tsp coarsely cracked black pepper
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 22g salted butter, chilled and cubed

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/gas 4. Put a wide pan on a medium heat and add a good lug of olive oil. Add the wild garlic (or spinach), stir and cook for 3 minutes, until wilted. Pour in the buttermilk, remove from heat and blend with a stick blender until you’ve got green milk.
2. Add the dry ingredients and butter to a large bowl with butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour until you have the consistency of breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre and pour in your green milk, a good splash at a time. Combine with a wooden spoon until perfectly mixed and you have a dough.
3. Dust a surface with flour, pop the dough on top then roll into a large sausage, then cut into 8. Lightly oil a baking tray. Out the dough pieces on the tray, sprinkle over some wholemeal flour then put in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until lightly golden on top. Remove from the oven, then pick one up and tap the bum. If you get a hollow sound they’re perfect, so put them on a wire rack to cool. (Perhaps you should make 9, because hot out of the oven with cold butter – seriously nice.)

GORDON RAMSAY’S wild garlic and parsley risotto

•1.3 litres chicken (or vegetable) stock
•3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
•3-4 wild garlic cloves (or new season’s garlic), sliced
•4 shallots, finely chopped
•350g risotto rice, such as carnaroli
•Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
•Few knobs of butter
•100g parmesan, freshly grated, plus shavings to serve
•Handful of flat-leaf parsley, leaves chopped

1. Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan and keep it at a simmer over a low heat.
2. Heat the olive oil in a larger pan and add the garlic, followed by the shallots. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the shallots have softened. Stir in the rice and cook for a couple of minutes until the rice grains appear translucent, stirring frequently.
3. A ladleful at a time, add the hot stock to the rice and cook, stirring, until almost all the liquid is absorbed before adding the next ladleful. When you have added most of the stock (you may not need all of it), season and taste the rice. It should be al dente, cooked but with a bite in the centre. Take the pan off the heat.
4. Stir the butter into the risotto, followed by the grated parmesan and chopped parsley. Add a splash more stock to keep the rice moist and creamy if you like. Serve at once, scattered with parmesan shavings and topped with a drizzle of olive oil.

ANNA HANSEN’S wild garlic soup

•A little olive oil
•1 leek, diced
•2 fennel, sliced
•1 white onion, diced
•3 cloves garlic, diced
•250g wild garlic
•1 litre hot vegetable stock
•Crème fraîche

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently sauté the leek, fennel, onion and garlic until soft. Add the stalks from the wild garlic and cook until tender. Add the hot vegetable stock and simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Remove from the heat, add the garlic leaves and blend in batches. Adjust the seasoning to taste and serve immediately with a blob of crème fraîche.

xx Sian


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