Friday, April 29, 2011

Wild Garlic

Since moving here I have discovered all sorts of lovely seasonal specialities. Things that exist in Toronto but weren't as available or as obvious to someone who wasn't actively looking for them. Maybe part of the reason my cooking spidey senses have learnt so much in London is because so many of the cookbooks I read were, and are, British. I felt like I knew Borough Market before I ever set foot there and the Ginger Pig was like discovering an old haunt - I knew them. But I have never had that same relationship with Canadian food writers - there's very few that I can even name. Maybe it is that old thing with you are never satisfied with what is around you - grass is always greener. Or that Canadian food as such never really inspired me because there wasn't much distinctive about it. Who knows. My last trip to Toronto was delicious - so many great restaurants and dishes. I think maybe it isn't just Toronto that has expanded and grown - maybe I have too so that I am looking and seeking out those experiences. Also helps that I have a bigger budget than when I lived there. Little things. You know.

Anyways the point is that I had never had wild garlic (or ramps as I think some people call it though I am confused between ramps and the wild leeks that appear in the spring...) before moving to London and it has become one of those sure signs of spring to see the deep green leaves with white flowers in bunches in the market. 


Another sure sign of spring is bluebells. Fields of bluebells in the forests of England, and what grows hand in hand with bluebells? Garlic! Fields of pungent white garlic flowers next to lovely bluebells. So beautiful. So smelly. But in a nice way. And so delicious.

I was gifted with an obscene about of garlic leaves. They don't last long once plucked so I needed to do something with them fast. So I made wild garlic pesto - four gleaming emerald jars of the stuff which we ate over fresh pasta - plain the first time and then beet (a lovely pretty pink colour with just a hint of beetiness to it) the second.

Wild Garlic Pesto

100g wild garlic
50g pinenuts
50g parmesan
1 shallot
1/2 tsp salt
Pinch of sugar
About 200ml olive oil

Process until as smoothy or as chunky as you fancy in the food processor and taste for seasoning.  Pack in old jam jars and push down to get any air out. Gently pour a thin layer of olive on top and pop in the fridge. Covered like this it should last 2-3 weeks. But I have never had it last longer than a week or so, because we have eaten it.

Divine. Special. But also enough that I am done for a bit and will be just fine waiting until next year's crop. Except for the wild garlic butter in the freezer - I mean clearly that is going to be eaten on steaks. But after that we're done. For real this time.

1 comment:

Peter said...

When you make the pesto, do you use the leaves and the white part? Ramps are just in season where I live (New Brunswick).