A wild pesto with garlic leaves from the woods in Wicklow

April 15, 2011

Wild garlic leaves

I heard about these and couldn’t resist. Because they are wild they can’t be certified organic but they come from woodland on Denis Healy’s organic farm. These garlic leaves are also known as ramsons or bear’s garlic (kids got a real kick out this one) and they grow in deciduous woods so if you like today’s lot foraging for more would be easy but make sure you don’t pick lily of the valley instead – the leaves look very similar but are poisonous!!!

Flavourwise, think delicate garlic so you can  be generous. Raw they can go into salads and omelette while pan-fried they make a great sidedish.Tossed on the pan with chorizo they really come to life…

Wild garlic pesto

They make great pesto where they take the place of both the basil and the garlic although if you like yours very punchy you can throw in a clove or two aswell. I didn’t and the result was a bit hit. Before I put the pasta on we picked at it with some crackers and bread and it proved just a bit too moreish – we nearly didn’t make it to dinner! Luckily, the recipe below makes enough for at least two dinners for four (last night’s leftovers were topped up with oil in a jar) plus lots of dips.

Pesto with wild garlic leaves

You’ll need:

90gr garlic leaves

250 ml extra virgin olive oil

50gr pinenuts

50gr Parmesan cheese

50gr Pecorino cheese – if you can’t get this don’t panic, just use more Parmesan.

Maldon salt

Remove the thicker stems from the garlic leaves then wash and dry them (salad spinner does a great job)  Roughly chop the leaves then add the pinenuts, a generous amount of Maldon and the oil. Blast with your handblender til the leaves are broken down. With a spoon mix in the cheeses. Taste and add more salt or oil if you think it needs it. That’s it – another 10 minutes for the pasta and dinners ready. Yay!!

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11 Responses to “A wild pesto with garlic leaves from the woods in Wicklow”

  1. banbamama Says:

    Yum! I picked some last weekend and stuffed it in a chicken, which I roasted. It was delish with a hint of a taste of the ramsons. Going to pick more tonight on my walk home from work to make pesto 🙂

  2. Lulu Says:

    Great blog, with plenty of inspiration! Do you know how long you can keep this pesto for (provided its well covered with oil)? Thanks

  3. Jingle Says:

    very fancy looking one..well done.

    very impressed,
    yummy,
    visit me to see if you are interested in be an official writer at Bluebell Books……
    Thanks.
    if interested, contact bluebellbooks4u@gmail.com,
    Happy Cooking!

  4. Recipe Chefs Says:

    Excellent post thanks for sharing. Food is something I can enjoy all around. If I’m not eating it. I’m reading and looking at pictures about it.

    Rise n Shine Eggs – Breakfast Recipe

  5. helen Says:

    Just had it in an omelette absolutely gorgeous, my new favourite leaf yum yum

  6. Lou Says:

    yum yum. That pesto was only gorgeous. Well done.


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