This weekend you might be involved in helping small children hunt down brightly coloured eggs in bare gardens. And if there’s a mix of age ranges then a bit of policing might be needed. I’m pretty sure the phrase, “like stealing candy from a baby”, was coined on an Easter Sunday.
This is all part of life’s rich tapestry and it’s a natural time for the hunter-gatherer within us all to emerge. And for good reason, the new season’s first wild food has just appeared. Yes, wild garlic!
It’s got to be wrong to call a wild plant trendy. It’s been around far too long. But now it’s almost as cool as flares and freekeh.
But wild garlic has earned its popularity, which is not to say flares haven’t. And if you’re out of town this weekend you won’t need to look on too many roadsides (take care) or, better really, wooded copses to find a bed of the good stuff spreading over banks and under trees.
And when you do, get stuck in straight away. All you do is gather up the leaves and all, taking care not to rip out the roots. Shove it in a bag and i..n..h..a..l..e.
When you get home toss it all in the sink and give it a good bath, particularly if it’s been by a road. Then blitz it in whatever household whizzer you have, being sure to give it enough oil to keep it to a smooth consistency. Eckley Farm’s cold pressed rapeseed oil would work well here, and make sure you don’t over blitz to a sludge. Then you can stir it into anything. But it’s such a delicacy it really deserves a pure tasting, so you’re best off mixing it into some delicious pasta (either La Tua or Casa Grande’s linguine would be perfect) and grating a bit of cheddar on top. Perfect!
One of the strange things about the food industry is that with every new star that emerges, the hunt immediately starts to find an inferior, but more commercial alternative. So four weeks ago there was plenty of wild garlic in London’s restaurants, who were all jockeying for position to be first to get the new season’s number 1 highlight.
But it wasn’t from anywhere nearby. Yes, our local, wild, seasonal food highlight is now being flown in from overseas ahead of the seasons. Food pirates!
It’s not necessarily a problem, but if we can wait just a little bit longer it will arrive. And then we’ll have the next thing to look forward to – pea shoots? Asparagus? Broad beans? Whatever you fancy. It’s a bit like opening your Christmas presents early.
So make sure you keep your hunting pure this Easter. All’s fair in love and eating chocolate Easter eggs, but keep the wild garlic wild.
Have a good one!