The sun has been out the last couple of days and as such, thoughts turn to what might be coming into season now that spring is finally upon us! Early March means one thing for me..wild garlic! I absolutely love the stuff, much milder than normal garlic and for that matter a touch more versatile. You can buy it at some markets if you’re lucky, but by far the more satisfying way is to forage your own supply. I’m no expert in the field of foraging, but wild garlic is foraging for beginners so I felt pretty confident of not poisoning myself! I did a little research and having worked with it in the past I know what it looks like and more importantly smells like. Basically it stinks to high heaven of garlic. My pockets stink of garlic and my car and everything that came near me that day stink of garlic..you get the point. If you’re not 100% sure of what you’re about to eat..don’t eat it.
Where to find my garlicky friend? That was the question. I rather brazenly swanned off to the nearest woodland thinking I was going to fill my pockets with the stuff, only to discover, amazingly enough, that just because it’s in season and likes ‘woodland’ it wasn’t on my door step. I trudged around that wood for about an hour, ‘barren’ sums it up nicely, lots of very sparsely leafed trees and the odd holly bush, that was it. I didn’t even see a bloody squirrel, and they are everywhere!!
Success finally unveiled itself as a small area of woodland about 20 minutes from my home. I’d read that wild garlic has a habit of muscling in on the same territory as bluebells, so it made sense to look for both. A quick Google search and it turns out the wood in question has a terrible problem with bluebells being overrun with.. you’ve guessed it..wild garlic, handy.
They weren’t wrong. It was everywhere! I think it took all of 20 seconds to find my first leaves at the edge of the wood, but I thought I’d leave these as the wood is very popular with dog walkers and they were in prime positioning for a bit of additional watering! As I moved on into the thick of the wood, areas would open up in front of me exposing tight patches of new garlic leaves poking through the soil, garlic jackpot!
So what to do with our new ingredient? Well, whatever takes your fancy really, that’s the beauty of the stuff. Toss it into pasta sauces just before serving, rip it into salads, sautéed with a pork chop, steak or a sea bass fillet, pesto, garlic oils….endless.
Recipe: Lambs kidneys, black pudding and wild garlic on toast.
- 3 Lambs kidneys (split length ways, white gristle removed).
- 1 Thick slice of black pudding (broken into pieces).
- 4-6 Wild garlic leaves (roughly sliced).
- 1 Slice of toast
- Saute Kidneys in hot oil in a frying pan, browning well on both sides.
- Add black pudding, turn down heat to a gentle sizzle. 2 mins.
- Add garlic leaves, turn off heat and allow kidneys to rest for 2-3 mins and the garlic to gently wilt (the kidneys want to be blushing pink, bordering on slightly embarrassed).
- Heap unapologetically onto hot toast. Devour.