Friday, 30 March 2012

Wild Garlic Pesto


When we walked in the woods a few weeks back, there were just the beginnings of life appearing on the woodland floor.

Back again just a fortnight later and the area is completely transformed.  Bluebells are unfurling on the outskirts, away from the shade of the trees and huge swathes are carpeted in the lush green of the wild garlic.  As you brush through or crush the leaves underfoot the air is filled with the heady aroma of garlic.

Now is the perfect time to forage wild garlic and both the leaves and the frothy white flowers are delicious to eat.


I whizzed up a batch of wild garlic pesto last night which should keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge.  It makes a delicious fresh accompaniment to pasta; a great pizza topping, or simply eat it with fresh crusty bread.

In a pretty jar with a ribbon it also makes a thoughtful handmade gift.

Use your favourite recipe for regular pesto, but omit the chopped bulb garlic and replace the basil leaves with wild garlic leaves.  Pesto can be made with either pine nuts or walnuts, but I opted for a mixture of the two and also added some pumpkin seeds to make sure it was super green!

Ingredients:

200g nuts - pine nuts, walnuts or a combination
large handful of fresh wild garlic leaves
small pinch of salt
olive oil (add until the pesto becomes loose - approx 4 tablespoons)
handful of freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Whizz up the nuts and leaves in a food processor until finely chopped.

Add olive oil a bit at a time and continue blitzing until you've reached your desired consistency.  Season to taste.


Stir in the grated cheese.  Then transfer to a sterilised jar.  Add a slick of olive oil on the top to preserve it.



Hop on over to Red Ted Art to find more fabulous gifts for him.

24 comments:

  1. Mmmmm, you are making me hungry just thinking about it (and I've just had dinner!) Your photos are just lovely too - so simple. Mine are always a bit too "Busy!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much! It's very delicious :0)

      Delete
    2. Also, thanks for the comment on my pics - shh the woodland one is not mine, I borrowed it from Wiki ;0)

      Delete
  2. So refreshing to see someone using wild food in a recipe! Im making nettle soup this weekend hopefully, after ive snipped them from our woodlandy patch in the garden.
    Aqeela xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I want to give nettle soup a go too!

      Delete
  3. I love pesto, it's my favourite.
    I really love that you have done this with wild garlic...great foraging ;)
    I'm really hit and miss with pesto when I make it, never put walnut in though...going to give this a try (once I'm off Jenny Craig)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yum. There is a loads of this growing by my parents' house, my dad has some more recipes. Another simple one is to just wrap the leaves around chicken breast before baking in the oven. Infuses it nicely with flavour.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that chicken suggestion sounds lush.

      I spread some pesto on some lamb chops and grilled them. Really lovely, the nutty bits went all toasty so it made a crust. Also stirred some through mashed potatoes.

      Tonight we're having goat's cheese and wild garlic quiche. It's my new favourite food!

      Delete
  5. I have just made wild garlic pesto but now I am too scared to serve it in case I got the garlic mixed up with lilies of the valley. Any advice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Does it smell of garlic? If it smells of garlic you should be alright! x

      Delete
  6. Thx it doesn't smell too strongly , but that may be because it has been raining . I shall go back to the location tomorrow and start identifying all over again.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you very much for your prompt reply. I shall go back to the location tomorrow and state identifying all ovt again

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm not an expert (by any means!) and I'd always recommend checking with a reliable book or webstite, but I believe that Lily of the valley have a purplish vein on the leaf towards the base, whereas wild garlic doesn't.

      You might find these links helpful http://tastyherbalist.typepad.com/herbs/2010/04/wild-garlicramsonsallium-ursinumits-all-the-same-thingif-you-are-looking-for-something-odour-free-you-have-come-to-the-wro.html

      http://www.sacredearth.com/ethnobotany/foraging/Ramson.php

      I would go but crushing the leaf between your fingers and smelling. x

      Delete
  8. Foraging is great, we still have a load of wine and jam as well as bags of frozen apple from last years foraging, the kids love it.

    I can recommend the Collins gem 'Food for Free' book by Richard Mabey, there's a small pocket book version which is very handy to take out with you when you go foraging, I can also recommend the 'Mushrooms' book by Patrick Harding (also a Collins gem book)
    Food for free - http://tinyurl.com/chnqzce
    Mushroom - http://tinyurl.com/d8c39nm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Techno-mole. Yes, the Richard Mabey book is excellent.

      Delete
  9. Thank you again. Have picked more wild garlic and had it identified by two different knowledgeable friends. Plus the car smelled strongly of garlic. Now the cooking experiments can begin. Pesto is only the first step.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aww that's great news!

      I hope to share a few more recipes on here, so keep your eye out! Let me know how you get on. I was reading up on the health benefits of wild garlic yesterday, truly amazing and worth a Google! x

      Delete
  10. Great! We just found some yesterday- my first wild garlic forage, cannot wait to make pesto. Is there any point in the season at which you can no longer eat the leaves?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bethany!

      Wild Garlic season doesn't last long -we're coming to the end of it now.

      I'd say eat as much as you can while it's still around - the flowers are also delicious. Use them as a decorative garnish or as tempura.

      I haven't tried it, but it's possible to chop and freeze the leaves in ice cube trays like other herbs to enjoy later in the year. x

      Delete
  11. My fiance and I live in 2 different states for the time being. He lives in Texas while I am in California for school. His birthday is coming up and I am making him a bunch of neat little things for his everyday use and he is such a foodie that when I found this recipe I knew it was for him. Now my question is this: would there be any way that I could make this and send it without it spoiling? I've never made pesto before and I surely haven't sent food FedEx. Any advice? Thanks in advance!! (I can't wait to try it for myself =D)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh this looks epic! I hope I can find some!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love garlic, wild is even better.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wow this looks divine.. love the idea of using walnuts instead of pine nuts too. Never foraged for garlic before will have to go hunting! x

    ReplyDelete