Out in the woods and greening up the banks of fast flowing streams, wild garlic is in season. Available in a short, fragrant season it’s worth the effort of pulling on your boots and striding for the great outdoors to forage its potent leaves.
This year the season coincided with the final event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Leiths Cookery School in the heart of west London. Billed as discussion about the history of food writing, the good people of Leiths invited writer Xanthe Clay (@XantheClay) and blogger Ed Smith from @rocketandsquash to chat about food writing and also to write a recipe in front of an audience of assorted Leiths alumni, chefs, foodies and bloggers. Neither Xanthe nor Ed knew in advance which ingredients they would be dealing with, or what the end dish would be. The foodies at the Leiths cooking demo chose an eclectic ingredients list including wild garlic, pancetta, white asparagus tips, goat’s curd, creme fraiche, zest of Amalfi lemon, freshly grated parmesan and freekeh. The ingredients were used to create a wild garlic-flavoured souffle omelette and salad.
The next day, inspired by the enterprising recipe creation, we at Lemonaste went out into the woodlands of the Weald of Kent to create our own wild garlic omelette. Packing eggs, bacon, seasoning, a camping gas cooker, saucepan and lots of butter we gathered a bunch of wild garlic and beat, fried and cooked … although to be honest it turned out more like scrambled egg than omelette!
Watch the video HERE.
Frequently found growing in swathes along the banks of woodland streams, wild garlic gives off a pungent aroma that’ll help you identify the plant. Eat the leaves, and leave the roots in the ground for coming seasons. It boasts a string of folkloric names including ‘bear leek’, ‘devil’s garlic’, ‘gypsy’s onions’, ‘stinking Jenny’ and ransoms. It’s popular with wild boar and the brown bear, after which the plant gets its Latin name, Allium Ursinum.
Bunch, fresh wild garlic leaves, chopped/ torn
2 large eggs
Pinch of salt & pepper
Melt the butter in a small, 6″ inch high sided cast iron frying pan
Beat eggs together for 30 seconds, season with salt and pepper
Pour egg mix into the frying pan, stir quickly until starting to firm up
Sprinkle on chopped wild garlic leaves, fold over
Alternatives: add likely fried pancetta or bacon. Use wild mushrooms to continue the woodland theme; but you’ll need expert advice from an experienced forager before using such an ingredient.