I love this time of year with so much fresh, green growth everywhere, there’s a chill in the air, but the days are longer and there’s a fair bit of sunshine around. I hope you had a good weekend, did you have any sunshine? I seem to start a lot of my posts talking about the weather, but I’m British and a gardener… what more can I say?
We spent most of Sunday afternoon foraging for wild garlic, it grows in damp, shady woodland areas, the patch we found is alongside a woodland path that has dappled light, it seems to love it there.
It’s a wonderful little plant, with dark green, strappy leaves and pretty, star-shaped clusters of flowers that show it’s part of the allium family.
It’s a friendly sort of past-time, a few walkers stopped and chatted as we picked leaves, one lady had a small bag of allium flowers, but didn’t know about using the leaves as well, I shared our recipe with her and she’s going back this week to pick leaves.
The flowers can be gently pulled apart and sprinkled over salads, they look pretty and have a gentle flavour of garlic.
If this all seems a bit of a faff, I can tell you that it’s the most wonderful flavour, very vibrant, and unlike any pesto you’ve ever bought, with the added bonus of no additives.
Wild garlic and walnut pesto:
enough for 4
- 50g shelled walnuts, you can use pine nuts, I use walnuts because they’re cheaper and they have a good, robust flavour
- 100g of well-washed garlic leaves & stems, roughly chopped
- 35g parmesan cheese, or any hard cheese that doesn’t melt easily
- grated zest of half a lemon and a generous squeeze of juice
- 100ml of olive oil
- a little salt & freshly ground black pepper.
Put the nuts, wild garlic, cheese and lemon zest into a food processor and blitz, then gradually add the olive oil – you may not need all of it or a little more- with the motor running slowly until it becomes a soft puree.
Keep it in the fridge for a few days, or freeze it. We make about 5x this recipe and freeze it in bags of two portions and use it with pasta or to make risotto, it’s lovely to have a taste of spring freshness though the year.
I adapted the recipe from this one.
all photos: Jill Anderson