Feasting on Wild Garlic

As as a forager Spring is now the most exciting time for me. Everything is emerging in small, tender gorgeousness. There is more light, heat and rain to help everything along and there are so many plants that are sweet and soft before they get better ideas of being bitter and tough to avoid being eaten by me. At this time in early spring there is a short window for some special delicacies like hawthorn leaf, catkins, scarlet elf caps and young hogweed. However, there are some that are the queens of spring that will last right through to the summer if you’re lucky – one being wild garlic.

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This is adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe and are by far one of the easiest and most delicious savoury biscuits I have ever made. These scale up very easily and you can freeze them once sliced and cook up when you need them.

You will need
A large bowl & wooden spoon
Baking parchment or greaseproof paper
A tray with non stick paper or a silicone mat


Makes 30ish small bites
150 grams plain flour
75 grams grated parmesan
100 grams soft butter
1 large egg yolk
Large handful of wild garlic leaves chopped fairly fine


Preheat your oven to 170°C. Mix all of the ingredients together with a spoon or mixer until you get a solid clump of dough. Divide into two or three chunks and then roll into logs about the width of a £2 coin. Wrap in parchment and twist the ends to make a nice neat sausage. Pop into the fridge or freezer for a little while to harden.

Slice into rounds about a centimetre thick and place on parchment or a silicone sheet and bake for about 15 minutes. They should just be a little brown around the edges.

You can also freeze the whole uncooked logs ahead of time and just take them out about and hour or so at room temperature or overnight in the fridge before slicing and baking.

Wild Garlic Shortbread

No Knead Wild Garlic Foccacia

You can really just add wild garlic where you would use any other herb or onion flavouring such as champ, pesto or on pizza. This recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen for overnight foccacia is very simple to follow on her website, tastes pretty amazing and can be easily adapted with other wild ingredients or whatever you have in the fridge. I followed her recipe and then added the wild garlic on top just before baking. A little wild garlic oil and vinegar for dipping on the side is pretty delicious with this too. This recipe is best left overnight in the fridge but can work just fine in a few hours at room temp.

 

You will need

A large bowl

2 medium oven trays lined with non stick parchment

Makes 1 or 2 foccacia

500g Strong Flour

450g Warm water

10g Fine Salt 

10g Dried Yeast

Flaky Sea Salt 

Handful of washed wild garlic leaves

Good olive oil - you will need at least 80ml

Chop most of your wild garlic up just leaving 6 - 8 whole leaves to lay on top. Mix the salt and chopped leaves with the flour in a large bowl. Add the warm water to the yeast and stir to dissolve. Add to the flour mix and stir with a spoon until no dry spots remain. This will look very wet at this stage but this is key to the good texture of the finished bread so don't worry. Spread a little olive oil over the top of the dough to stop it drying out, cover the bowl and pop into the fridge overnight or leave at room temperature for a couple of hours until the dough has doubled in size. 

 

The next day prepare your trays with parchment and drizzle over some of your oil to ensure your pan is completely free of sticking. Inside the bowl split the dough in two with a knife (or you can leave it in one piece for a thicker bread) and carefully transfer the dough to the tray. Oil your hands and press the dough evenly out across the tray. Leave to rise a second time for around an hour. When ready the dough should look puffy and delicate. Preheat your oven to 220°C. Mix 30ml of oil with 20ml of warm water and use some of this to coat the extra wild garlic leaves. Wet your hands and using your fingers push little holes all over the dough. Pour over the remaining oil and water mix. It should sit inside the holes and not soak in too fast. Sprinkle over some extra salt and lay the garlic leaves on top. Pop into the oven for 20 - 25 minutes until golden and risen. Allow to cool on a wrack before slicing. 

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