Foraging for food is nothing new and wild garlic grows abundantly at this time of year in Ireland. There is something deeply gratifying about going off into the open air, picking your own food from the earth and then returning home and making a meal of it. I recently went on three separate occasions looking for wild garlic but each time it eluded me. Each time, I was determined to return home with a bounty of gorgeous garlicky greenery, only to find myself searching fruitlessly in the wrong places while trying to keep two spritely young children in tow! As it turns out, you really need to know where to look! I complained about my unsuccessful exploits to my father and he mentioned this to local man and forager extraordinaire, Ted Boyle. Ted has been gathering wild garlic for quite some time now and and and I’m guessing it takes him less time to find the stuff than it took me to load the kids into the car. Anyhow, thanks to this gentleman, I found myself the proud owner of a big bag of the stuff. I was absolutely thrilled and began thinking about what to create with this vibrant, grassy leaf. I was keen not to diminish the lively flavour profile of the garlic so decided on a pesto. I used a standard pesto recipe, substituting the basil with the garlic but found the Parmesan to be a bit overpowering so I tweaked it a little to do the garlic more justice. This pesto is great with pasta or as a salad dressing. It also works with roast chicken or even better, as an accompaniment to fresh, pan fried fish.
50g Parmesan cheese (grated)
25g pine nuts
80g wild garlic, chopped
200ml extra virgin olive oil
2.5 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
This recipe will yield about 3 small jars.
1. Wash, dry and chop the garlic leaves. Combine with the olive oil, grated Parmesan and lemon juice.
2. Using a hand blender or food processor, blitz the ingredients well. Add the pine nuts and season to taste with salt and black pepper.
3. Serve with pasta, chicken, fish or salad. The pesto can be frozen if needed at a later time.