This guest blog comes from our very talented Aunty Gail from Jersey who kindly shares her recipe for wild garlic and walnut pesto.
I wanted to share this recipe with you simply because wherever you look at the moment there is a profusion of wild garlic on the hedgerows. What could be more seasonal?
Wild garlic is reported to be both antibiotic and antibacterial and is known for helping in reducing blood pressure so every excuse for eating as much of it as you can whilst the going is good.
You must always be careful when foraging for wild plants but the distinctive pungent smell of the wild garlic will certainly help you identify it. It is similar looking to the Lily of the Valley plant (which is highly toxic) so make sure it smells of garlic and not of perfume! I found them in shady places away from direct sunlight. They have long tubular leaves and petite white flowers. I chose clumps which were high up on the hedgerow, away from our delightful four legged friends!
All parts of the plant are edible but for this recipe I just used the flower stems and the leaves. They should be bright green and firm. Wild garlic isn’t as strong tasting as the cultivated garlic, it has a much more delicate taste similar to chives, so use in recipes which don’t have bold strong flavours, so you can savour the nutty fresh taste.
Wild Garlic and Walnut Pesto
Delicious swirled into hot pasta, drizzled over a pizza, a topping for bruschetta or added to some Jersey Royal potatoes.
50g shelled walnuts
About 75g wild garlic leaves and stems, washed and roughly chopped
35g parmesan finely grated
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon, plus a good squeeze of lemon juice
100-150ml extra-virgin olive oil or walnut oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Put the nuts in an ovenproof dish and toast for five to eight minutes, checking from time to time because they burn easily. The oil in the nuts should start to seep out and therefore they will have a shiny appearance. Leave to cool.
- Put the toasted nuts in a food processor, along with the wild garlic, parmesan and lemon zest. Blitz to a paste, then, with the motor running, slowly add the oil until you have a thick purée. Scrape this into a bowl, add a squeeze of lemon and season to taste. This pesto will keep in a jar in the fridge for a few days or I like to put a few tablespoons into small containers and keep in the freezer.