Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Verdant Wild garlic and walnut pesto

On our drive to the South West coast and through the country side this weekend, I had spotted what I thought was wild garlic, but I was not wholly confident. So I asked D to park the car on the quiet roadside whilst I got out to inspect the leaves much closely. The white flower buds had not yet opened, but I was beginning to feel pretty confident. I gently rubbed the broad leaves gently and then smelled my fingertips. I was instantly hit by the scent of garlic and this confirmed this was indeed 'wild garlic' Oh you should have seen my face lit up, it was almost like I had found a precious crystal or two.

Well not being one to pass on free food, especially one that you are unlikely to find at the grocers. I got to work and harvested enough for a meal or two. This 'seasonal wild weed' is also known as ransom, wood garlic and buckrams.
When I got home I weighed out my verdant pickings. I had managed to harvest just over 300g wild garlic. Now the question was what to do with these heady leaves, other than just enjoying them as part of a salad. The one cook book on my burgeoning bookshelf that I was certain to give me some inspiration was Denis Cotters 'Wild Garlic, Gooseberries and me...'. I was not disappointed.
I settled on making this wild garlic and walnut pesto. The taste of wild garlic is subtle compared to a clove of garlic. Wild garlic is much softer, but it does linger on the breath. This pesto recipe is extremely versatile. Denis suggests using this pesto for pasta dishes, tarts and egg dishes such as frittata. Its also lovely as a spread on crusty bread or pitta chips. This pesto will store in the fridge for a week, just drizzle a layer of olive oil over the top.
Wild Garlic and walnut pesto
100g wild garlic leaves and stalks if tender
75g shelled walnuts
8 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Blitz all the ingredients in a food processor until you reach the desired consistency. You may wish to add more olive oil. Season to taste. Slightly adapted from Denis Cotters Wild Garlic, Gooseberries...and me.


  1. SO cool that you found wild garlic!!! Your pesto looks incredible, and I can imagine tastes especially delicious since you were able to find the main ingredient in the wild!

  2. Mmmmmm sounds yummy! I love making Pesto! Its always nice to find free food!

  3. I've never eaten wild garlic...this sounds wonderful. I hope I can find some to try some day.

  4. Oooh, this looks lovely. I particularly like the sound of it as a spread on crusty bread.

  5. Oh, how fun to find wild garlic when you are out on a drive. We don't have anything like it here, so, since your recipe sounds delicious I may go ahead and try it with leaves of garden garlic. Do you think the flavour will be close to your wild garlic?

  6. I'm so jealous! I've had my eye out for wild garlic for ages and haven't managed to find any yet!
    Glad you enjoyed yours :D

  7. Good foraging! I need to do some foraging...I am not used to living in an apartment...and without my garden and bush...I must find a field!!!

  8. Sounds gorgeous! I have a patch of ransoms near me - think I may have to visit it this weekend to stock up. I wonder if you could freeze ransoms for when the seasons over? May be worth a try.
    I've got Dennis Cotter's book too - love it.

  9. This looks absolutely delicious and once again I must compliment you on your photos and writing style.

  10. Foraging for wild food always seems so romantic! I love the idea of wandering through the woods and fields picking plants here and there...Peace, Stephanie

  11. There's something spooky going on here...just finishing off a lunch of wild garlic pesto and pasta made from a recipe in....Wild Garlic etc! It tastes fab, hot or cold.

  12. wow, sounds divine. Also a little envious that I don't know of anywhere around here to happen upon such treasure

  13. Love pesto so much! This looks fresh, beautiful and delicious!!

  14. Astra.
    I was really pleased to stumble across the wild garlic. I have been looking for it for a couple of years now.And the taste is so worth it - its so subtle!

    So lovely to hear from you. This pesto is really good. So versatile too!

    I had tasted wild garlic once on a trip, but not enough to make a meal of it. I would really recommend this. I am sending good wishes your way so that you can find some to enjoy.

    Thank you Jo.
    It def be good spread on crusty bread.

    Thank you for your comment Angela.
    I am not quite sure what you mean by garden garlic. Do the leaves look the one in my picture? If so, i'd recommend it. If not, you can only try.

    Oh Sweet sooz.
    Please don't be jealous. This is the first time in years, I have found wild garlic. Its only because I had my beady eyes on the look out! I'd encourage you to keep looking, especially in damp places and tis the season of wild garlic! Sending good vibes your way so you find some to enjoy.

    Thanks Alessandra, This is the first time I have foraged. I am def. going to make a habit of it.

    Go Ruth - Go Ruth - go pick yourself some ransoms!
    I think they would freeze, but i'd probably do it as a pesto rather than the leaves as these would not look appealing on defrosting.
    I do like Denis Cotter's style of cooking.

    Thank you so, so much GreenFlag.
    The pesto was packed with flavour.

  15. Wow...what a find. I've never been lucky enough to taste, let alone find, wild garlic. I bet it's amazing tossed through pasta.

    I'm waiting to see if my local garlic will come up...planted it in the fall...hhhmmmm...*taps fingers*...*waits patiently*.

  16. You know what Stephanie. You are right. But it didn't feel quite so romantic foraging from the roadside, countryside it may have been.
    May next time :D

    Tis the season - but also you know what they say 'great minds....' :D Because today that is exactly what we have had Wild garlic pesto pasta. I agree it does taste good hot or cold, but I don't think I'd want to take some into work for lunch :D

    Thank you Nic.
    Its a change from me being envious of you. I still haven't got over the sloe berries (still dreaming of them). You have been falling over edible treasures, so I do sincerely hope you find these emerald greens.

    Thank you Jennifer.
    This pesto is all the things you've described - fresh, beautiful and delicious!

  17. Thanks Christine.
    Whenever I come across finds like these in the wild. I do feel blessed.
    I can vouch that it is amazing tossed through pasta. I've just enjoyed a bowl.

    I too have common household garlic growing in long pots in my garden. Like you I'm waiting to see if they will come up :D This weekend, whilst tidying the garden plot I dug out a load of garlic that I had planted but had forgot to harvest, what a waste - shame on me.

  18. My mother grew up in Greece and gathering goodies in the wild was a natural thing to do. Living in New York City my mother is always on the prowl looking for free, wild goodies from Mother Earth. I have eaten many wild dandelion salads and many things I don't even have a name for, but they are all delicious!!!

    Your pesto looks devine!

  19. Looks wonderful, reminds me I haven't have wild garlic in years! What a lovely and interesting blog. I will stay tuned.

  20. ok... this is the next recipe for Donkey :)

  21. What a good idea for fresh pesto in the spring! Looks delicious!

  22. Angela,
    Thank you so much for sharing your mothers heritage and her adventures in gathering wild food. When I was small my mother did a litte wild foraging, but she would always get lots of odd stares. I have never eaten wild dandelion leaves, it was something I was going to try this year - who knows maybe I still will :D

    Welcome Travis,
    Thank you so much for coming by and your kind comment. Look forward to seeing your again.

    I do hope Donkey likes it :D

  23. Thanks Jennelle :D
    It really is a wonderful change from basil.

  24. I just saw a message on facebook that the fruit and veg shop we like is selling wild garlic. Must get some and try this. Nice pickings Mangocheeks, very well spotted!

  25. Jaqueline,
    Do get some. I am sure you will like it, even if it means breathing garlicky breath over people you mingle with later. But my advice is, for something that is growing wild and free, see if you can source some somewhere. I've read the flowerheads are especially tasty!

  26. :( wish I could find myself some wild garlic.

  27. Ooh Kella,
    It took me a few years to find some. Just keep your eyes out during the season, you may like me find some unexpectedly :D

  28. What a great idea!! I also love wild garlic!!

    The pesto with the walnuts looks so tasty too!


  29. our woods are currently a carpet of wild garlic and it's still harvestable for cooking in spite of now being quite mature.


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