16 April 2012

Wild Garlic ~ Calloo, Callay!

Wild garlic is frequently known as ramsons, formally as allium ursinum and occasionally and sometimes rather rudely as bear's garlic, jack-by-hedge, buckrams, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, devil's garlic, stinking Jenny and gypsy's onions.  Some of these names don’t do it justice because It Is Yummy with a wonderful kind of a mild garlic-chive taste.

ransoms-in-Cornwall


foraging for wild garlic



Last year was the first time I had ever picked wild garlic and I was ecstatic!  Lovely, fresh, delicious and free food!  I have been looking forward to this year’s crop ever since and yesterday picked a carrier bag full.  




Freezing Wild Garlic


I stemmed and washed and dried the lot and then chopped it in my tiny food processor together with a thin drizzle of olive oil to help it.  I spooned the result into an ice cube tray and froze it tightly wrapped to stop other things in the freezer tasting garlicky.  Scroll down to the end of the post on ideas for using frozen wild garlic.

Wild Garlic Pesto 


I had too many chopped leaves for the ice cube tray so added walnuts and grated Gran Padano (as per my wild garlic pesto recipe) to the processor together with enough oil to make Wild Garlic Pesto.  I put the pesto in a clean jar,  topped it up with copious amounts of olive oil to keep the air out and put it in the fridge.  Scroll down to the end of the post on ideas for using wild garlic pesto.

wild-garlic-pesto

Wild Garlic Vinaigrette


I couldn't get every scrap of the precious stuff out of the food processor and you know how I hate waste so I added a spoonful of cider vinegar, a pinch of sugar plus salt and pepper and some more olive oil and made – Wild Garlic Vinaigrette (see my "genius recipe" for vinaigrette here).I poured this into a jug to dress my salad for dinner.


never-waste-wild-garlic!… and so on!



The food processor still looked a little unfinished so, still hating waste, I wiped it out with a piece of salmon which was intended for my dinner. 

The resulting meal tasted excellent but was strangely out of focus so doesn't deserve to be seen!

And the leftovers?

Easy peasy, I munged together leftover salmon from my dinner last night, leftover mashed potato from my menfolks’ dinner last night and a teaspoonful of my Wild Garlic Pesto.  I formed an admittedly large fishcake, pressed it onto a plate of panko, shallow fried till crisp and went for it.

wild-garlic-fishcake

How to use Fresh Wild Garlic ...


~   Add the leaves and flowers to salads.
~   Garnish dishes with the flowers – they are very pretty!
~   Sprinkle chopped leaves onto all sorts of dishes.
~   Add to omelettes and scrambled eggs.
~   Keep the flowers in a vase on the kitchen windowsill amongst all the rest of the paraphernalia; they don’t make a smell!



wild garlic flowers don't smell

How to Use Frozen Wild Garlic …


~   Stir into soups and sauces,
~   Add a cube when deglazing a pan to make a quick sauce for meat or fish.
~   Stir into polenta for the last few minutes of cooking.
~   Mash into potatoes.
~   Stir into risotto.

How to Use Wild Garlic Pesto


~   Stir into mayonnaise.
~   Whisk in vinegar or lemon juice and more oil to make a great salad dressing.
~   Rub onto meat and fish as a marinade and leave a few hours before cooking.
~   Stir into Alfredo Sauce for a lovely pasta dish.
~   Just toss with freshly pasta for a yummy simple dish.
~   Drizzle over sliced tomatoes.
~   Garnish soup with a spoonful or a drizzle.
~   Spread into sandwiches and Grilled Cheese Sandwiches 

See here and here for more ideas from last year's crop.


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