Spring is just about my favourite time of year. The new life is so exciting and hopeful, and harvesting wild garlic in the woodlands is a sure sign it has arrived. Combine an Easter weekend walk with some easy wild-food foraging to make this perfect bank-holiday lunch!
This was the starter at our April Supper club and I took my 8 year old God-daughter to help me harvest. She loved the smell and couldn't believe the garlic was going straight from the forest floor and into our food and was indeed, free! We were flavouring our meal using no packaging or air miles - just the abundance that we had around us.
We went to Freshford, a village near Bath to pick ours, however National Trust have kindly put together a list of sites all over the country where wild garlic grows: you can walk and harvest at the same time, making it a prefect bank holiday activity for young and old.
This recipe is topped with a nettle and parsley salsa verde. But what I also do, is make up a big batch of wild garlic pesto, then freeze it into ice cubes, pop them into a zip-bag and use them throughout the year to add to pizzas, risottos, pasta, omelettes, scrambled eggs, salad dressings and you name it to add that green, garlicky, goodness all year round!
Step One: Picking and Preparing
With scissors, harvest the leaves, stems and flowers. Try to take from different patches rather than all the same place. Dogs and birds tend to do what they do in the woods, so once home, wash the leaves thoroughly, at least two or three times. Pick off a few flowers to use as garnish later.
Go for the small, young leaves at the top of the plant as they are less fibrous. Don't do what I did and try to use my hoodie sleeve for protection on an spontaneous mid-run harvest - you will get stung. Take gloves and a bag and you'll be laughing in the face of those nasty nettles!
This is a chive-like, wild onion that you can only find in the Avon Gorge area, in the UK, hence nicknamed the Bristol onion. It grows in clumps on grassy banks and looks almost identical to chives. If in doubt, pull a sprig up and have a taste, you'll know if you've found some.
Step Two: Frittata
- 3 medium potatoes peeled and diced to medium sized chunks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 Organic Free Range eggs
- 2 to 3 large handful of young wild garlic leaves, chopped roughly
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 50g fresh ewes cheese to top or any type of local organic soft cheese. I used Homewood Farm.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C and grease and line a bread tin with grease proof paper.
- Wash and chop the potatoes, then part boil them in salted water.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, add the wild garlic and season with salt and pepper.
- Drain and add the potatoes to the egg mix.
- Pour into the prepared tin and sprinkle with pepper.
- Bake for 35 - 40 minutes until golden and solid, checking regularly.
- Turn tin up-side down to remove frittata. Leave to cool or cut when hot if you're eating it straight away.
Step Three: Parsley, Nettle and Wild Garlic Salsa Verde
- 1 handful of wild garlic
- 1 handful of stinging nettle heads
- A bunch of parsley
- 6 table-spoons of olive oil
- A table spoon of cider vinegar
- Salt & pepper
- Table spoon of agave or maple syrup to sweeten
Make this as near to serving as possible as nettles go brown when left.
- Placed washed nettles in a pan with a tiny amount of water and olive oil and heat for a couple of minutes until soft.
- Place in food blender (I used a nutri-bullet) with the parsley, wild garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Whiz up and check consistency. Add more oil to make more runny if needed and agave or maple to taste.
- Keep in the fridge in a sealed container until serving.
Step Four: Assembling
- Cut the frittata slices.
- Place on plates, warm or cold.
- Dollop a table spoon of ewes cheese on top.
- Drizzle the salsa verde over the frittata and make three bold streaks on the plate for dramatic effect!
- Stick a wild garlic flower in the top, with chopped Bristol onion or chives and voila!
There you have it, a light spring lunch that uses the green goodness of the land around you. Tickets are on sale for our summer supper club dates now for more homegrown inspiration, as well as live music, candlelit conversation and lots of love!