The woods here at Teasses are abundant in Wild Garlic which rears its pungent head in March and continues to the end of the April. As the plant matures the strength of the flavour reduces so if you don’t want a fiery strong garlic taste then hold off until the second half of April. In this recipe I use the leaves of the plant but the flowers are edible too and can be used in salads or as. garnish on top of soups such as Sorrel or Pea. Unlike its namesake Wild Garlic doesn’t produce a bulb so you need to use it when it’s available.
Note that if you intend to cook with the pesto – for example roasted Mediterranean vegetables coated in pesto – that the flavour becomes less powerful when cooked. I like to add another couple of tablespoons of the pesto once the vegetables come out of the oven, it also helps with the colour. Also, a delicious pairing with this is fresh lamb so try to keep some for when the Scottish lamb season abounds.
This will easily make one large jar.
- a bunch of fresh, washed and roughly torn wild garlic – enough to almost fill a mixing bowl.
- 200g organic pine nuts – the more you add the thicker the pesto and less pungent the garlic.
- 500 ml organic olive oil
- 100g organic parmesan – or other hard cheese
- 1 organic lemon
- salt and pepper
Step One: Gently heat a dry shallow pan, when almost too hot to touch throw in your pine nuts and lightly toast.
Step Two: In a food processor put the roughly torn wild garlic leaves with the lightly toasted pine nuts, cheese, a pinch of salt and the juice from the lemon and a little oil.
Step Three: While blitzing the contents of the food processor drizzle in the remaining oil.
Step Four: Continue to blitz until you are happy with the consistency. If it is too thick add some water. The best pesto is slightly chunky. Add more salt and some pepper to taste.
If you want truly authentic pesto remove the food processor and pound the ingredients in a mortar and pestle.
Once sealed in a clean glass jar this pesto lasts approximately one month when refrigerated or three months if frozen.