Wild about Garlic

Everything is starting to bloom and hazes of green cover the trees and hedges. Amidst April showers and sunshine, we are out walking more and enjoying the Spring. Daffodils, tulips and bluebells; new rhubarb and spinach and strawberry flowers with the promises to come. The Husband has been fishing and the added bonus to this is the first of the year’s green treasures – wild garlic by the riverbank.   It looks like this:

A fairly low growing plant, smelling slightly of garlic/onion and the most beautiful vibrant green. Pick it when you find it and you can make wonderful soup, dips and oil.

This recipe is enough for 4 but freezes beautifully. Not only is it delicious but also helps lower cholesterol and high blood pressure!

Wild Garlic Soup

  • 1 onion sliced
  • 2 – 3 potatoes (these are for thickening the soup so depends on size)
  • 500 ml water
  • stock cube (I use a vegetable one)
  • milk/crème fraiche/cream

Saute the onion in a little butter in a large saucepan.  Add chopped potato, stock cube, and water and bring to the boil.  Cook until the potato is soft.  Lay 3 – 4 handfuls of the garlic leaves on the top and allow to wilt and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Cool slightly and, using a hand blender, puree.  Put back into the saucepan and add milk or cream or creme fraiche to taste along with plenty of pepper.  It never lasts long in our house but will keep in the fridge for 2 – 3 days – or ladle into bags to freeze.  Serve with crusty bread and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Wild Garlic Oil – blanch several handfuls of leaves in boiling water for 5 – 10 seconds then immediately drain and toss into iced water (this keeps the colour). Drain again and wrap in an old tea towel and squeeze all the liquid out. Chop up into small pieces and put in a jam jar or bottle and top up with 150 ml of olive oil.

Wild Garlic Butter -I make lots of this and usually manage to eke it out all year. Chop the garlic leaves up as you would any other herb. Soften a block of butter, add salt and pepper and the chopped leaves. Roll into cigar shaped moulds, wrap in cling film and freeze. I usually keep one on the go in the fridge, replacing with a frozen one when needed. Just cut off slices and use to cook with as you would any other flavoured butters.

Garlicky green Goddess dressing

Put about 30 washed and dried garlic leaves into a food processor or blender with 300ml sour cream (if you haven’t got this creme fraiche will do or make your own by adding some lemon juice to fresh cream – leave aside for a minute or two whilst it goes thick) , the juice of half a lemon and salt and pepper.  Blitz till smooth and serve over a green s salad or use a dipping sauce for bread or crisps.

I served my soup with Leek Pate on the side. Simply saute a chopped leek and chopped garlic in some butter and olive oil until soft. Put half a carton of cream cheese into a bowl and top with the hot leek mixture. Whizz all up together to a nice creamy paste. Spread on hot buttered toast.

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