Forage wild garlic.
For years, I did not dare to pick wild garlic because I was afraid I would confuse it with poisonous lilies of the valley. In reality, there is not really a risk to mix these plants up if you know what you are looking for. Wild garlic sprouts way earlier and the leaves look differently on closer inspection. Wild garlic has its strongest taste if you pick it early in the season, when the leaves are still small. As lilies sprout later, in April or May, you can avoid a deathly mix-up. Wild garlic leaves grow individually, one by one, have a dull underside and smell distinctly of garlic. Admittedly, after picking wild garlic leaves for a while you will have the smell everywhere. Lilies of the valley, however, grow in pairs, have a shiny underside and do not smell of garlic. If you see the lilies and wild garlic side by side, they are likely blooming. As they have different blossoms, you can distinguish them quite easily. However, the strong taste of the wild garlic will be lost by then, anyways.
How blind and anxious we become, when we are used to buy our food at the supermarket with a clear label that says what is in the package…
What to cook with wild garlic.
Now that you foraged successfully, the options for cooking with wild garlic are manifold. Just for your inspiration:
- potato gratin
- small dumplings to put into soup
- bigger dumplings with (gorgonzola) sauce
- spaghetti with fresh wild garlic and tomatoes
As I usually do not cook following a recipe, I cannot offer any instructions. There are no limits to your creativity!
Store wild garlic.
If you picked too much wild garlic (as we do every time), you can stock up with pesto or freeze it. The best ways for me to freeze it is to wash it, dry it and store as whole leaves in a container or cut it very small and use it as seasoning. You can also keep it in the refrigerator for a few days (just wash and dry it beforehand).
The recipe: vegetarian lasagna with wild garlic.
Yesterday we made lasagna! And because I love to make pasta from scratch I also added wild garlic to the dough. As I always just estimate the quantities I need, I don’t have specific instructions for your to follow – except for the dough. You will need 1 egg for every 100 g flour. Although, we tend to eat a lot, you’ll have enough with 200 g for 2 people. As for the vegetables in between: just use as much or few as you like. It is just important that the lasagna sheets simmer in enough liquid. We used additionally to the wild garlic zucchini, tomatoes and feta. I’m sure ricotta and wild garlic or some kind of tomato sauce will taste just as well.
Tip: all the ingredients are super easily bought in bulk without packaging! Except the mozzarella… But you could do without it, in the worst case, and only take parmesan 😉
for the dough (lasagna sheets):
- wild garlic (3 handful)
- 200 g flour
- 2 eggs
- olive oil
for the vegetable layers:
- wild garlic
- slat, pepper
- olive oil
for the cheese topping:
- Wash and swab the wild garlic. Take one handful and blend it thoroughly with olive oil. Use as much olive oil as it needs to cover all leaves.
- Lasagna sheets: knead 200 g flour with 2 eggs, a heavy pinch of salt and the blended wild garlic into a smooth dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, cut the zucchini, tomatoes and feta in thin slices.
- I borrowed (more a long-term loan…:P) my dad’s pasta maker, but you can also use a regular rolling pin or a glass bottle, to roll out the dough very thinly. As you are making the sheets yourself, you can customize them to the size of the baking tin or tray.
- Layers: start with lasagna sheets to cover the bottom of the tray, add the vegetables and cover them with feta. Start again. I added a sprinkle of salt, pepper and lemon in between the layers. The last layer will be the cheese topping.
- Leave the lasagna in the oven for a little over an hour at 180°C. When the cheese is crispy and the dough is soft, the lasagna should be ready.
Are you foraging for wild garlic? What are you cooking with it?