Wild garlic (or Ramsons) is a bulbous, perennial plant which grows wild in damp woodlands. It can be found from late January through to late spring and all parts of it can be eaten. Some care needs to be taken when forgaing for Wild garlic because it does resemble Lily of the Valley. However it is easy to distinguish when you rub its leaves as it gives off an unmistakeable garlic scent. In fact if you’re in woodland and there is a fair bit of it about you can smell it in the air.
The leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. It’s great added to mash, put in a salad or made into a pesto. Below is a great recipe for all you wild garlic foragers!
Wild Garlic Pesto Risotto (the best risotto i have ever tasted, and Vegan too)
For the Pesto:
Large double handful of wild garlic leaves
Small handful of cashew nuts – lightly toasted
Small handful of walnuts – lightly toasted
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp salt
4 tsbp olive oil
1 small clove garlic
Blend all of the ingredients up together until smooth and pesto-ey
For the Risotto:
500g Risotto Rice (brown is nicer but takes a bit longer to cook)
Small saucepan of warm vegetable stock
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large saucepan, fry the onion in a splash of olive oil until soft.
Add the risotto rice and stir for a few minutes until the rice is well coated with oil.
Pour in the lemon juice and stir to de-glaze the pan
Add the warm stock a half-cupful at a time, stirring until it is absorbed and the rice begins to “squeak”, then add more.
The rice will need stirring almost constantly.
After about 20 mins stir in half of the pesto.
Continue to gradually add stock and stir until the rice is al dente (the time this takes will differ depending on what kind of risotto rice you use – white or brown – but the packet should have a rough guide to how long it takes to cook).
Stir in the rest of the pesto, apart from a few spoonfuls to dollop on top of the dish.
Taste and add salt and pepper if it needs more seasoning.
Serve topped with a few roasted vegetables and some dollops of wild garlic pesto