Go wild

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Spring is here. That means wild garlic is here. Ail sauvage. Черемша. Wilde look. Karulauk. Bärlauch. My favourite season has begun. Visiting my usual foraging place made me very happy: they were already sprouting. There was little amount of bigger leaves  the first time I went there, in the beginning of March. I did forage some of the bigger ones and ‘blanched’ them in butter for a lamb dish. Finally!

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Happy kid. A bit hungover though I must admit.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASprouting young leaves. These are too cute to be picked.

Aside from being one of the most healthiest foods you can eat, wild garlic can be used to cook many, many things. Blanched in butter, it is a garlicky spinach-like side dish, if you like spinach (and I love spinach when properly cooked, the key is always the addition of fat in the form of butter of cream). Also wild garlic soup is something I need to make before the end of the season. However, you can extend wild garlic season when the official one is over by making pesto or wild garlic butter. The butter also freezes very well (don’t try to freeze pesto). I have made mussels in wild garlic butter. I have also used wild garlic butter in chicken Kiev, it was amazing. I have also made wild garlic risotto and served it with the chicken Kiev. It was amazing. A wild garlic overload. In a good way. But pesto – this you can add almost in anything and to anything.

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I was not planning on introducing to you to ramson pesto using the classic components but with wild garlic instead of basil. I find that wild garlic overall is a bit overpowering and hinders the buttery pine nuts and parmesan. Plus, they are quite expensive. Here, I made wild garlic pesto with toasted cashews and old Brugge cheese. It is as salty as parmesan but has sweetness to it that balances out nicely the pungent garlic. And cashews just taste plain good.

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I really cannot tell you the exact quantities – it is basically a bunch of wild garlic and a proper handful of both cheese and cashews. Be prepared to used to use a lot of oil (I used plain and virgin oil 50/50). I also blanched 1/3rd of the wild garlic because otherwise it was a bit too much. However, this year was the first time I ever did it, normally it has not been necessary. Curious as to what makes the difference in the varying yearly pungency levels of the wild garlic (the structure of that sentence clearly indicates that I have been reading a lot of ECJ judgements lately. But I did manage to survive through a mere 5 minute presentation and not blacking out due to anxiety).

And there you have it – blend it up all real nice and cover with oil if you are not using it immediately. However, to use it immediately, here’s an idea:

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Buffalo mozzarella wrapped in good Parma ham, tomatoes and lots of wild garlic pesto. A bit of piment d’Esplette. And you’re set for the spring.

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