How to make a delicious pesto with wild garlic
Wild Garlic in the spring. Taking walks around the Haute Savoie are truly wonderful. The breathtaking views, fresh air, mountain scenes and tranquillity of the countryside, coupled with the wildlife, flora and fauna make walking in this part of France a ‘must do’ when visiting this region.
Some of this said wildlife, flora and fauna are not only edible but delicious. I’ll work my way through some recipes on my blog in the future but having found wild garlic growing prolifically on my dog walk in the last few weeks, I decided to pick* some and see what I could make.
Wild garlic or Allium ursinum to use its Latin name is a wild relative of the chive family native to Europe and Asia. In French, this is Ail l’ours. It is also known as bears garlic, wood garlic, ramsons, buckrams and broad-leaved garlic. The Latin name is due to the brown bear liking for this plant and digging up the bulbs. They are also a favourite of the wild boar known as the ‘Sanglier’ in France. The Sanglier features on the Chasse menu in the autumn during hunting season here.
The wild garlic plants grow in woodlands and flower in the spring before the deciduous trees have their leaves. The air in early spring is filled with their garlic-like scent. The leaves are similar to the lily of the valley and the flower heads are a round ball, but only contain flowers no bulbils.
The leaves are edible and the flowers and bulbs are tasty too. You can use the leaves in a salad, boiled as a vegetable like spinach, used in soups, or in pesto in place of the basil. There is a Cornish Yarg cheese which has a rind coated with wild garlic leaves.
Wild Garlic Pesto
- 2 or 3 handfuls of wild garlic leaves
- 1 clove garlic peeled and roughly chopped
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 50 g pine nuts
- 75 g freshly grated or roughly chopped parmesan
- small pinch of salt
- black pepper
- Whizz up the wild garlic leaves, chopped garlic, pine nuts and parmesan in a food processor or crush in a pestle and mortar.
- Season with salt black pepper.
- Add the olive oil and lemon juice to form a thick paste.
FREEZING TIP - Pesto freezes well and as you usually only need small amounts, you can freeze it in ice cube trays