Inspired by long walks with our new pram and our new copy of Mark Hix British Seasonal Food we decided to go foraging and see what we could do with wild garlic. It's currently in abundance along the banks of the River Almond and Water of Leith and is a free, tasty, seasonal ingredient.
Top tip - avoid picking from the path side where dogs may well have marked their territory or more! Venture to a higher, less convenient spot for the freshest picks.
Anyway, where was I? Wild garlic smells delicious as you walk passed it and tastes delicious too. It's got a mild flavour and can be used in sauces, soups, salads and risottos. You can use the bulb, stem and leaves. Our first experiment was with a wild garlic and parmesan risotto.
Here's what we (Chris) did:
You will need:
1 white onion
1 stick of celery
320g risotto rice (at least)
1 glass white wine
3 large handfuls of wild garlic
1 pint chicken stock (this depends on the rice so use more if needed)
Salt, pepper and parmesan (to taste).
Thinly slice one white onion and fry in unsalted butter or olive oil for a couple of minutes.
Add one thinly sliced leek and stick of celery.
Add up to six of the bulbs of wild garlic (the amount is really up to you and depends on the size of the bulbs you forage) again thinly sliced.
After five minutes or so, add risotto rice (about 80g per person or whatever you usually eat) until the rice is nicely coated in the cooking juices - add a touch more butter if the rice is sticking.
As soon as you feel that the rice has absorbed the liquid in the pan, add a glass of white wine.
Once the rice has absorbed the alcohol, begin to add ladles of stock (homemade if possible). Stir constantly.
Keep repeating until the rice is al dente. Season gradually.
At this point add the garlic leaves - a good few handfuls, roughly chopped. This part of the plant doesn't take long to cook. Before serving stir through butter and shavings of parmesan - retaining some to decorate.
Pan fried chicken or a white fish would both work well with this but for a truly simple (and frugal) supper, serve with good bread and green salad. You could also make parmesan crisps to accompany this.
We're also planning on trying wild garlic bread and pesto. Watch this space...