Going "WILD" For Wild Garlic

Last year when the lovely season of the Wild Garlic came upon us, I didn’t actually find any until, sadly, the end of the season.  I tried my best with what I did find but it had grown a bit too far on and the true flavour wasn’t there anymore.
  However, this year I found a great spot, practically on my doorstep! I was thrilled as you can imagine.
  However it has come to that time of the year where it has either gone, grown too big or has overgrown weeds over it.  I almost feel quite sad as there’s so much you can do with Wild Garlic, I absolutely LOVE its unique flavour and the prettiness of the flower buds. So now it is fizzling away till next year, if you can get hold of some still around. Do try a pesto with it. It will keep in the fridge for a few weeks at least, or even do a pickle/vinegar?
  I realise that many people will have done this with Wild garlic and rightly so as we do it with other leftover herbs, so why not this? 
  Here is just a couple of things that I did with mine this year.  I do plan another recipe if my last batch lasts! 

Wild Garlic Pistachio Pesto:
(Makes 1 small Jar):

One thing I must add about this recipe is that pretty much whenever I do pestos’s I always like to use either pistachios or cashew nuts rather than Pine nuts. I find the pine nuts are more bitter, but that’s just my preference.

Ingredients:

(These ingredients depend on the size of your jar and also your taste) – Be as Flexible as you want with it! 

–  50g of Wild Garlic Leaves
–  20g of Pistachio nuts (shelled )
–  20g of Parmesan Cheese
–  Sprinkling of Pink sea salt (any good sea salt will do) and cracked black Pepper
–  1 Tbsp of Fresh lemon juice
–  2 Tbsp of Rapeseed oil ( olive oil can be bitter )

– Simply Place all ingredients into a Blender/Processor and Blitz! Add extra seasoning, oil or cheese if you need to.

This Pesto is great in all sorts of recipes, the list is endless! Once you have done this, you will never turn back.

And the result of this pesto? An obvious choice to pair with Pasta but this dish is what I keep devouring myself with lately. I am eating bucket loads of it as I love it! It’s such a quick Pasta dish to rustle up when you’ve had a busy day and can kick back with a large Glass of Wine. Perfetto!

Creamy Tagliatelle with Chicken, Mushrooms and Wild Garlic pesto:

(Serves approximately 1-2 people)


Ingredients:

–  Approximately 200g of Tagliatelle Pasta
–  1 Tbsp of Rapeseed oil (no more as there is oil in the pesto)
–  2 Spring Onions finely chopped
–  1/4 of Leek finely sliced
–  3-4 Chestnut mushrooms sliced
–  100-150g of Cooked Roast chicken shredded 
–  1/2 chicken stock cube crumbled into sauce
–  1 Tbsp of the Wild Garlic pistachio Pesto (as above ) more if you like it to be more of a garlic Flavour.
– A Good Splash of Dry White Wine (100ml)
–  150ml of Double cream

Method:

–  Cook the Tagliatelle to packet instructions.

–  Fry off the leeks and mushrooms until starting to soften.

– Add the Shredded Chicken, Spring Onion and chicken stock and cook for a further couple of minutes. 

– Add the Pesto, coating all of the mixture.

– Pour in the Wine, reduce a little and then add the cream. 

–  Drain the Pasta but use maybe 2 Tbsp of pasta water into the sauce. Place Pasta into the sauce and serve into warm bowls.


Finally, You may recall my recipe for St George’s Day when I made the Wild Garlic and fennel bread. 
 That bread actually lasted me a full week, which was great. They were some leftover and I didn’t have much room in the freezer so I decided to do a Panzanella, which is a traditional Tuscan summer salad.  There have been many different versions of this and mine isn’t very traditional, I added meat, mine was more dry and I added Wild Garlic, a kind of Italy meets Leicestershire’s Hedgerows! However it was a very lovely Lunch the day I made it.

Panzanella with Salami and Wild Garlic:




Ingredients:

(Approximately for 2 people)

–  A couple of slices of Wild garlic and fennel bread, torn into chunks for croutons
–  A handful Selection of Peppery Salad leaves (Rocket, Mizuna, Red Chard etc…)
–  1 Yellow Bell Pepper 
– 1 Red Bell Pepper
–  120g of Ripened well baby plum tomatoes
–  1-2 Tbsp of baby capers from a Jar 
–  Few slices of Italian Salami torn into pieces 
–  3-4 Basil leaves torn
–  1 Tbsp of Good quality Extra Virgin Olive oil
–  10 Wild Garlic flower Buds (already started opening) 
–  Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper to season

Method:

–  Take your Bell peppers and either Roast in the oven until skins are starting to turn black or Burn onto a Gas flame (If confident) *Note, as I am a qualified and trained chef, I have done this many a time*

– Once black, peel off the skins revealing a lovely soft sweet flesh and slice lengthways 

–  Coat the Bread for croutons in a little Sea salt, Black Pepper and olive oil and either pop in a dry frying pan to toast or again you could place in the oven.

–  Arrange all of the ingredients in a bowl, drizzle with Olive oil and Serve. A simple, But impressive salad.























Friday Night fish dish, a healthier approach.

I have decided to re-kick things going again with a fairly healthy dish. Well, it certainly is compared to the typical battered fish and chip supper we usually dive head first into on a Friday night.  
  A couple of reasons why I chose this dish to post today is A, Cost. I know its nice to treat oneself to it once in a while but “back in the day” Fish and chip Friday was a fairly cheap takeaway for families and was nice as a treat.  But now, I know I struggle sometimes to afford it!  You maybe shocked but this recipe IS a cheaper alternative. 
 And, B, because we may have overindulged slightly over December so this will make a lighter, healthier Dinner (Or supper in my case) after a glass or two of vino! 
  If you are indeed, like myself, who loves the combination of Pasta with Fish or seafood, then you will love this!



Roasted flaked Sea bass with Pesto Spaghetti and Tomato Salsa: 
(Serves 2)

One thing I will mention is I couldn’t make up my mind on wether to say the fish was steamed or roasted? as I did both!  But seeing as I finished the dish by Roasting at the end, that is why it is in the recipe title.

Ingredients:

For the Sea bass:

One whole Sea bass descaled and gutted.
1/2 a lemon
1 spring onion chopped in half
A piece of leek about a few inches long cut lengthways into 4
a few chopped fresh chives and parsley
A sprinkling of Fennel seeds or fresh Fennel would be fine also, just not too much
knob of Butter
a good glug of dry White wine
100 ml of water
Salt and pepper for a bit of seasoning.


Pesto:

(Approximately) as it is depending on how much you want to make to keep or how big your blender/processor is?

  6 spinach leaves
Handful of fresh basil
Cashew nuts
Olive Oil
1 fresh garlic clove (browned first to soften)
small handful of Fresh parmesan 
Salt and pepper to season if required.


Tomato Salsa:

Olive Oil
Cherry tomatoes 
Mini capers
Fresh lemon juice 
Fresh basil and Parsley
1 clove of fresh garlic chopped finely
A small amount of red onion chopped.


Method:



Preheat your oven to 180c.
Boil up some water ready for your spaghetti to cook.
Take your Sea bass and place onto foil which is on a deep baking tray.  Stuff the inside of the fish with the lemon, spring onion, leek and herbs.  Then place the knob of butter on top of the fish.  Grab the ends of the foil and start to gather up at the ends as you are going to make a little bath (parcel) for your fish.  Put the White wine and water into the bath and drizzle a little of olive oil (if wanted) on the fish.  Close up the foil parcel so it creates a steam bath and cook in the oven for about 15 mins.

 In the meantime whilst the fish is in the oven you then do the pesto.
  Place all ingredients into a hand blender or food processor and blitz! Adding more olive oil and seasoning if need be. Then chop all your ingredients for your Salsa (as shown above). Not forgetting of course to cook your spaghetti !  Place the salsa in a pan to gently heat. You do not want this to go to mush.

 Check on your fish after 15 minutes and open up the foil at the top so the fish will get a little colour once back in the oven.  Now depending on the size of your sea bass, it may only need maybe 5 mins more cooking.  
  Once the fish is done, Toss your drained spaghetti with the pesto, flake the Sea bass onto the spaghetti and drizzle over your Tomato salsa. 

Enjoy!