Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wild Garlic Pesto Recipe



It's the brief season for wild garlic (aka ramsons or bear's garlic, Allium ursinum), and I'm excited. I only discovered wild garlic a year ago (see post here), and have been looking forward to them again.

There's a plentiful supply of wild garlic near our house, and early last week I picked some* to make some wild garlic recipes I had spotted elsewhere or 'created' myself. So far I've made the same cucumber and wild garlic salad mentioned last year; a delicious cold tzatziki sauce (wild garlic, cucumber, sour cream, salt); one cold sauce to accompany simple boiled potatoes (wild garlic, cornichons, kefir milk); and this delicious pesto recipe.

The idea behind the pesto is simple. If your usual Pesto Genovese is basil + garlic + parmesan cheese + pine nuts, then instead of basil and garlic I decided to use mild-tasting wild garlic instead. It was a very successful substitution indeed, and I'll be certainly making it again next year.

Have you tried wild garlic before? And what's your favourite use for this delicious wild food?

* Karulauk on Eestis III kategooria kaitsealune taim. Karulaugu korjamine isiklikuks kasutamiseks määral, mis ei ohusta liigi säilimist antud elupaigas, on lubatud; rangelt on keelatud looduslikust kasvukohast korjatud karulauguga kauplemine.

Wild Garlic Pesto
(Karulaugupesto)
Makes 200 ml



100 g wild garlic, rinsed, drained and chopped
50 g toasted pine nuts
150 ml extra virgin olive oil
50 g parmesan cheese, grated
Maldon sea salt, to taste

Place chopped wild garlic and toasted pine nuts into a blender, add about 1/3 of the olive oil and puree until smooth. Stir in the rest of the oil and the grated cheese, season to taste with salt.

Serve with pasta (see above) or stir into your risotto. Keeps covered in the fridge for about a week.

* Toasting pine nuts: heat pinenuts of a hot dry frying pan for a few minutes, shaking the pan regularly, until the nuts are golden brown and aromatic. Cool before use.

WHB: This is also my entry to the Weekend Herb Blogging, this time hosted by Anh of Food Lover's Journey. Click on the logo below for more information about this foodblogging event started by Kalyn.

25 comments:

Wendy said...

I have been hunting all over for wild garlic and just cannot find it here. My Dad is certain is does grow in Scotland but can't remember where. You wouldn't happen to have a photo of the plant, would you?
Even more desperate to find it after seeing this pesto. It sounds wonderful!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

I love wild garlic! As a matter of fact, I just ate some ramson pesto tonight and it tasted wonderful!

Here, ramsons grow like crazy! You can find that herb in every forest (see my blog)!

Cheers,

Rosa

Susan from Food Blogga said...

I love the gorgeous green color of that pesto, Pille. As for other idea, I simply braised them in some olive oil and put them on bruschetta with Parmesan cheese and proscuitto. Mmm....

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I've made pesto from many things, but never from wild garlic!

By the way, what's that lovely green Nami-nami item in the background of your photo?

Pille said...

Wendy - my Edinburgh friend emailed me last night, after seeing your posting, to say that if you go for a walk around Rosslyn Chapel - esp. alongside the river and the walking path, you can smell wild garlic easily.
In Edinburgh, you'll find them along Leith Walk (the bit that starts near Inverleith park).
But hurry up - you need to pick the leaves before the plant starts blossoming.
For photos, see here and here.

Rosa - will check your blog for more ramson recipes, thanks!

Susan - that sounds good too! However, I'm keen to preserve as much of the goodness of the vitamin-rich herb as possible, so I think I'll stick to cold-treatment just yet:)

Lydia - that's Nami-nami's brand new apron - as modelled by my sister here.

Karina said...

We don't have any wild garlic out here in the high desert- but we have a lot of tumbleweeds. ;) The pesto sounds delicious. We made some last night with cilantro.

Jeanne said...

Mmmm, this looks so delicious yet easy - and it's a one-stop substitute both for the greenery of basil AND the flavour of garlic! I made a lovely wild garlic risotto recently:
http://www.cooksister.com/2008/04/spring-is-in-th.html

But I do agree that leaving it in the raw, so to speak, probably emphasises the flavour more...

ScienceMel said...

Great recipe and cute apron! Wish there were a bit of wild garlic round Edinburgh to try...

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Ooooh yes - count me in for some of this, please? Being without a kitchen as I am at the moment, I'm missing our wild garlic season - very frustrating! It also makes a fantastically tasty risotto...

michelle @ TNS said...

no, i've never used it before - because i can't find it actually wild, and i'm too lazy on weekends to get to the farmers' market to grab some before it's all gone!

it remains to be seen whether this yummy sounding pesto will motivate me to become an early riser.

Tarah said...

I think I love just about anything garlic. This looks delicious!

Foodaholic said...

That is a great recipe! I love garlic, wild or not. =)

Chuck said...

I have never had wild garlic before in my life. But, garlic has to be one of my favorite spice in any dish and that Wild Garlic Pesto dish looks amazing!

Meeta said...

oh pille this is too freaky - i made wild garlic pesto last weekend too. slightly different but - i am with you wild garlic rocks!

Andreea said...

i think we have wild garlic in our garden. but i am not sure. how can i be sure? :)

Pille said...

Karina – I never knew that tumbleweeds are edible? How interesting

Jeanne – I think I must give a risotto a go :)

ScienceMel – see my reply to Wendy above – there’s plenty of wild garlic alongside Leith Walk apparently!

aforkfulofspaghetti – another vote for risotto then!?

Michelle – it’s worth getting up early in the morning, trust me. And as their season is so short, then it’s just for a week or two...

Chuck – I only discovered wild garlic last year, so you’re not the only one who’s new to it...

Meeta – how cool is that!?

Andreea – well, if you rub the leaf, does it smell of garlic? If yes, it’s wild garlic. If not, then it’s something else and you’re best off not eating it (lily of the valley has very similar leaves that are highly poisonous, but they don’t smell of garlic, so you should be fine).

Tarah, Foodaholic – thank you!

maybelles mom said...

I love ramps--and found some in my friends yard; in ohio, US, they are very common. We have made lots of stuff with it recently, and I will be posting recipes in the next few weeks. the first is up farmers cheese crepes with potatoes and ramps. (and we made some pesto too.)

Wendy said...

Many thanks, Pille, and to your friend too! Managed to find some close to home using your photos as a guide. Delighted. :)

tigerfish said...

Lunch time! I'm hungry now for your wild garlic pesto pasta.

Came from WHB round up ;)

Srivalli said...

wow..what a wonderful green green!..it looks lovely...

Kalyn said...

I haven't had wild garlic, but all your wild garlic dishes sound great, especially the pesto. And I LOVE the Nami Nami signature apron, how fabulous!

Anonymous said...

For more great pesto recipes, see http://iheartpesto.blogspot.com

maybelles parents said...

even though ramp season is over, I am still in the process of posting ramp recipes--but I did put up our gnocchi.

Jonathen said...

Excellent recipe. I especially like how you specifically mention the use of extra-virgin olive oil rather than just any type of olive oil.
Personally I find the extra-virgin olive oil from Holy Food Imports to really enhance the flavor of the foods you add it to.

Giuze said...

If you need a good spot in west part of Switzerland, try Penthalaz.
The forest is just covered by ramson, check this
picture.