Unless you’ve been under a rock or you live in the Southern hemisphere, you probably know that wild garlic is currently in season. Wild garlic, called wild leeks or ramps in the United States, is annoyingly but deservedly trendy. It is (a) delicious; (b) beautiful; and (c) did I mention delicious? As I discovered, it also freezes beautifully; although the leaves lose their structural integrity, they maintain their colour and pungent flavour. To freeze wild garlic, simply chop finely or puree in a food processor, pack in a Tupperware, and pop in your freezer.
Perhaps, like me, you were lucky enough to “find” wild garlic actually growing wild, and you greedily picked way more than you could possibly use at once. (It still counts as finding it if someone else found it first and showed you where, right?) Or maybe you bought a bunch at a Farmers Market, used some leaves in a recipe, and now are wondering what the heck to do with the rest. Or maybe you just need a little inspiration. Whatever your need, here are three lovely things to do with wild garlic when you’re at a loss. For what it’s worth, all of these recipes were made using wild garlic that I had previously frozen.
Wild Garlic Salsa Verde
3-4 tablespoons of finely chopped wild garlic
3-4 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh basil
4-5 anchovy fillets, finely minced
1 heaping tablespoon brined capers, finely minced
4-5 gherkins, finely minced
1 heaping teaspoon whole grain mustard, preferably Moutard á L’Ancienne
Juice of ½ large or one small lemon
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and allow to stand for at least an hour so the flavours can soften and meld. Taste and adjust seasonings. It is tasty, versatile stuff. I served this salsa verde with steak (delicious!) and with crispy skin bream and mashed potatoes (even more delicious!). It should keep for about a week in your fridge. Makes approximately one cup of salsa verde.
Wild Garlic Aioli
1 egg yolk (from some happy chicken, since you’ll be eating it raw)
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1-2 tablespoons minced wild garlic
Salt to taste
Here is a link to an earlier post on how to make aioli. Follow those instructions, adding the wild garlic at the end. I served this with sautéed calamari, but it would be a nice accompaniment to any other fish, fried potatoes, or, if you want to get really French about it, alongside roast chicken. This makes about a cup and a quarter of aioli.
Wild Garlic Fresh Pasta
Here is a link to my standard fresh pasta recipe. To make wild garlic fresh pasta, stir two tablespoons of very finely minced wild garlic into the flour before incorporating the eggs. You will wind up with a lovely greenish flecked pasta dough. The dough is a little bit less supple and more inclined to tear than ordinary pasta dough, so use less flour when rolling it out. I made this pasta into ravioli (there will be a ravioli post anon) and because it was so delicious, I tore up the trimmings and froze those separately. This “shape” is sometimes called stracciatella (stracciatto literally means torn apart), and it is great with hearty sauces.