You know spring has sprung when the waft of garlic takes over parks and woodland pathways across the country. Wild garlic has a fresh, chive-like taste with that heady hum of mellow garlic and a mustardy twang. Here are six wild garlic recipes to inspire you to cook with it.
Wild garlic. You can find it in wooded areas (they are a sign of Ancient woodland) from mid-March onwards, and usually you’ll smell it before you see it – so let your nose guide you. Its soft pointed leaves are at its sweetest in early spring. But if you don’t have the time to go out foraging, the green fingered Forager folk pick theirs in Kent so you don’t have to. Wild garlic is, by nature, organic, so is grown with no harmful chemicals so it’s as natural as can be (and tastes all the better for it).
Once you’ve gathered your bunch and get it back to your kitchen, what to do? Well now’s the real fun part. Its leaves have a much more mellow taste than regular cultivated garlic, meaning it can be enjoyed raw or cooked. You can use both the leaves and the pale root – put your root to tip cooking into practice with our top five wild garlic recipes:
1. Wild Garlic Tear & Share Bread
Everyone’s favourite Italian side gets a spring makeover. The mellow twang of wild garlic atop freshly baked soft bread is a thing of seasonal eating dreams. Get your friends around and dive into this easy-bake pull apart loaf whilst these leaves are still in season.
2. Asparagus, Mint & Wild Garlic Risotto
What grows together, goes together. That’s why springtime treasures wild garlic and asparagus are a match made in heaven in this creamy risotto.
3. Wild Garlic Chicken Kiev
Homemade chicken kievs are the ultimate spring comfort dish, made super simple with a few chef tips.
4. Wild garlic salsa verde
Iterations on salsa verde appear all over the world. In Italy, it’s made with parsley and basil, but you can use any fresh herb. Wild garlic works especially well, blitzed up in this recipe with mint, parsley, mustard, capers, anchovies and lemon juice for a zingy, fresh salsa that pairs well with baked fish, a sizzling steak or a joint of lamb or kid goat.
5. Rolled Lamb Breast with Wild Garlic Oil
Treat this slow-cooked, juicy breast of lamb with a fresh and punchy garlicky drizzle.
6. Wild Garlic Pesto
This foolproof homemade pesto will complete all manner of dishes – stir through your favourite pasta or dot on top of torn bread, local tomatoes and mozzarella for a light and zingy panzanella salad.
Wild garlic pesto recipe: To a blender, add 1 bunch of wild garlic, 2 bunches of basil (if eating with pasta leave a handful for later to fold through the pasta at the end) 50g of grated Parmesan and 60g of pine nuts. Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon, then gradually add 60ml of rapeseed oil and 20ml of olive oil while the blender is on. Taste, adding salt and pepper. If using a pestle and mortar, follow the same method, adding the wild garlic gradually and bashing as you go. Quick tip: I’d recommend always using two oils when making a pesto as using only olive oil can give it a bitter taste.
How do you use it? Share your tips below!
This article was originally published in May 2017 and has been updated.