Wild garlic is in season, folks. It has come to announce the arrival of spring and sooner than later it’ll bolt. And bolt it must as it is wired to perpetuate its species. However, it doesn’t get to bolt before I turn its leaves to delicious pesto. So, before it was too late, I crawled under the magnolia tree. There they were, happily growing next to that sweet spot where my tom cat, Ember, enjoys his naps on warm, sunny afternoons. I harvested a bowl full of perfectly formed wild garlic leaves and ran to the kitchen to make wild garlic pesto.
I washed every single leaf and then dried them on sheets of paper towels. Then, I coarsely chopped them so they could be more easily processed. Then, I roasted my walnuts and weighed the grated cheese. When the walnuts were ready I started making the wild garlic pesto.
It’s quite easy. Firstly, I added the walnuts to a tall measuring cup and blitzed them with my immersion blender for a few seconds. Then, I added some wild garlic and some olive oil and blitzed again for a few more seconds. Lastly, I added the remaining ingredients and blitzed until I had a creamy consistency. I spooned it into a small jar and went back out in the garden to harvest nettles for nettle pasta which is a story for another post.
Later that evening, my husband and I had some of the wild garlic pesto on crispbread (Knäckebrot). Wild garlic has a mild garlicky taste and you can enjoy it slathered on potatoes, crispbread, toast, bagels, and bread, as pasta sauce, as a condiment for meats or grilled vegetables. Your imagination is the limit!
Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) is very healthy, has many medicinal properties, and causes no garlic breath. Since it contains allicin, wild garlic has antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic and antioxidant properties. In folk medicine, it can be used for high blood pressure, to thin the blood, to lower cholesterol levels, to regulate metabolism, and to prevent arteriosclerosis.
Feel free to alter the amount of each ingredient to suit your taste. You can try different nuts, cheese, and oil. Pecorino cheese is a great choice for pesto. Just make sure you skip the salt as pecorino is already quite salty.
Wild garlic pesto
- 100 g (3.5 oz) wild garlic
- 50 g (1.7 oz) walnuts (lightly roasted)
- 30 g (1 oz) Parmesan or Grana Padano (finely grated)
- 120 ml (7 Imperial tbsp - 8 US tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the wild garlic thoroughly and dry each leaf well.
- Coarsely chop the wild garlic leaves
- Roast the walnuts in a pan without any oil. Let cool.
- Transfer the walnuts to a food processor (or tall cup if you’re using an immersion blender). Blitz to chop the walnuts.
- Add some wild garlic to the food processor. Blitz to break up the leaves and mix them with the walnuts.
- Add the cheese and the rest of the leaves. Season with salt and pepper.
- Turn the machine back on and slowly pour in the olive oil until well blended.
- Spoon into a small jar.
Click here for more info on wild garlic!