Five Things to Do with Wild Garlic

Wild garlic can be used in a myriad of dishes including pesto.

© Shutterstock

wild-garlic-pesto

Wild garlic can be used in a myriad of dishes including pesto.

© Shutterstock

1. Spring risotto

If autumnal risottos are all about earthy, mushroom flavours, then their springtime version is a chance to celebrate the return of fresh, vibrant greens. Wild garlic and asparagus would make a gloriously seasonal combination here. Be sure to add some lemon zest to enhance the lively personality of this dish.


2. New potatoes

So often simple is best. And what could be simpler or more satisfying than the first new potatoes of the year – Jersey Royals if you can get them – stirred through just before serving with a generous knob of butter and freshly picked wild garlic leaves. Just add spring greens – this is another perfect excuse to gorge on more green asparagus – and delicately flavoured trout for the perfect springtime lunch.

potatoe-wild-garlic-salad

Fresh boiled potatoes served with wild garlic

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3. Pesto

If you have a garlic glut on your hands – or simply fancy a change from the traditional basil version – then make pesto. It’s worth blanching the leaves first to tone down that garlic hit, then blitz them with pine nuts, parmesan, seasoning, lemon zest and juice, and plenty of olive oil.

The result isn’t just delicious with pasta; it’s a great way to inject flavour into lentil or pearl barley stews. Alternatively, stir a vibrantly artistic swirl through your risotto just before serving. Freeze in small batches to use later in the year. One word of friendly advice though: keep your pesto in a different freezer drawer to your ice cubes – unless of course you like a garlic twist to your G&T.

pesto-wild-garlic

Wild garlic pesto

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4. Crab parcels

This is a beautiful springtime canapé to bring out later in the wild garlic season, once the leaves become larger with longer stems. Remove these stems and steam briefly to soften. Mix together crab meat with finely diced chilli, lemon juice and zest, salt & pepper. Then lay out two garlic leaves to make a cross, put a spoonful of crab mix in the centre and wrap, tying the bite-size parcel with your garlic stems. Steam the parcels for 45 seconds. The explosion of flavour will make that fiddly preparation thoroughly worthwhile.

Tender, juicy crab meat

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5. Dried

Make the most of this wonderful ingredient all year round by drying leaves while the season is at its generous peak. Drying the garlic tones down its flavour considerably, so this is a good way to avoid accidentally anti-social dishes. Once dehydrated, grind the leaves into small flakes and store in an airtight container to sprinkle into soups or, even better, mix with butter to rub under the skin of a roasting chicken. Alternatively, combine with salt for seasoning with an extra dimension.

dried-wild-garlic

Drying the garlic tones down its flavour considerably. 

© Shutterstock

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