Wild garlic and almond pesto

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There is something deeply satisfying about foraging one’s own food. For me at least it makes me feel closer to the earth, calmer and incredibly grateful for seasons. Whilst searching for wild mushrooms can be risky (and not something Id advise without proper guidance) hunting for wild garlic is simple and safe. You can usually smell it before you can see it. It has a pungent smell slightly sweeter than garlic. It looks a little like a lengthy spinach leaf and will often bloom with small white flowers. When you find it you usually find a lot of it so bring your bags and baskets and fill them up. Wild garlic lives in shaded woodland areas with damp soil. Often you will find it near a river or a stream but it is equally happy in a countryside wood.

You can eat it in many ways; sautéed like spinach, chopped and mixed with ricotta before being scooped into fresh pasta or even stirred through as a sauce. You can fold it into scrambled eggs or lay it through an omelet, bake it into cheesy scones or blitz it into soup. But my favourite way to use it is in a pesto. Stir it through pasta or boiled new potatoes or enjoy it spread on toast. I love it this way with the addition of a fried egg too.

I like to make a big batch and freeze it in portions.

Ingredients

| The recipe below makes enough for 4 people. Increase as necessary. |

  • 100g almonds

  • 3 large handfuls wild garlic

  • 1 lemon – zest and juice

  • tsp flakey sea salt

  • olive oil

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180°C/fan and place your almonds on a clean dry baking tray. Roast for ten minutes until they begin to smell nutty. Allow them to cool.

  • In a food processor, place your almonds, wild garlic, the zest and juice of your lemon and the sea salt. Pulse until the garlic has well broken down but you still have some breadcrumb sized like texture in your almonds.

  • Transfer to a small bowl and slowly add olive oil until you reach the desired consistency. Taste for seasoning and add more salt, lemon, oil if you wish.

  • Store in a clean dry jar in the fridge and pour a little olive oil on the top to seal it and retain its freshness.

Alexandra Dudley