It’s been a while since I’ve done an “Edible Weeds” post; I tend to do these things as I find them growing in my backyard or neighborhood. Last Spring, I discovered that those grassy-looking bunches of green shoots were likely field garlic, a common name for a couple of species of wild garlic. I didn’t try eating them last year (see my forthcoming warning), but I’m curious about what I might do with these “weeds” this year (as they seem to have spread out more – they are invasive).
So, I started digging, and discovered (as I alluded earlier) that “wild garlic” is a collective term for several species of plants (all in the allium genus). Some are quite common in Great Britain and Europe; others have “flourished” here in the US. In all of these locations, chefs and cooks have experimented with this foraged plant, and come up with some interesting, and no doubt tasty, recipes.
Of course (and here’s the warning I mentioned earlier), you don’t want to eat any plant before consulting with an expert who can assure you it is the plant you think it is (and not some poisonous cousin). That especially important for wild garlic, as the related Lily of the Valley looks pretty similar… and is poisonous. You also want to stick to picking plants in areas you know for certain aren’t treated with herbicides. No one should have “foraging” listed as cause of death…
9 Recipes for Various Kinds of Wild Garlic
Since wild garlic incorporates several species of plant, those cooking with it tend to use one kind or another (based on what’s available locally). So while I found plenty of recipes featuring “wild garlic,” I also found others that used “three-cornered leeks,” or “ramsons,” or field garlic. I’m guessing the differences in flavor are pretty subtle, and would imagine you could substitute whatever kind of wild garlic you have in your area. Still, for each recipe, I’ll make a note if the author specified a particular species.
1. Wild Garlic Pesto: Lots of pesto recipes out there for these plants – those green leaves/shoots plus the garlic bulbs means you’ve got two ingredients in one. I chose this one from Body Enlightenment because you get seven other recipes with it.
2. Three-Cornered Leek Meatball Carbonara: Carl Legge thinks three-cornered leeks not only make a great pesto, but also a ground meat seasoning. If you like the carbonara, try out his burger recipe, also.
3. Wild Garlic & Sausage Fusilli: From British chef extraordinaire Jamie Oliver comes this wonderful-sounding meaty pasta dish.
4. Wild Garlic Soup: Don’t want the vegetarians to feel unwelcome – we’ve got them covered with several recipes, including this soup from The Wild Cook’s Blog. Search for other wild garlic recipes on this site – they have several.
5. Cottage Cheese and Field Garlic Bread: The first of two bread recipes I found, this one from The 3 Foragers sounds positively sinful, and a great accompaniment for soup.
6. Baked Three-Cornered Leek Risotto: Another Italian-themed dish that sounds really good… from The Cornish Mussel Shack.
7. Kidney Bean, Cashew, and Wild Garlic Dip: Already sounds good, doesn’t it? There’s also yet another pesto recipe here at Qualia and Other Wildlife.
8. Wild Garlic Irish Soda Bread: I’ve had this without wild garlic, so I’m guessing the addition of it makes for a really flavorful bread. From Donal Skehan…
9. Three-Cornered Leek Pesto: Yep, as I said, lots of pesto recipes out there. This one’s from Natural Fuel.
Got your own recipe that features some kind of wild garlic? Do share…
Image credit: Aroche at Wikimedia Commons cc
This is exactly the kind of page I’m looking for, Jeff. Thanks for tips about foraging as well as all the recipe links. Good eating to you!
Thanks so much, Kathryn – I’m glad this is useful to you! I had fun putting it together…