OK, I know it’s getting a bit late to be posting this but I don’t have the patience to wait until next spring. These sauces will each serve 2 people who are feeling greedy or more than 2, if you happen to know restrained people.
Assuming that you can still find some wild garlic, then you can make a wild garlic pesto and very good it’ll be too. But if you happen to be growing radishes and maybe have some sorrel somewhere in the garden then this is a useful, fresh-tasting variation. I hate wasting anything that I’ve grown and making use of the abundant radish leaves has to be good. Make sure all the leaves are fresh and good-looking, of course.
Generous handful of radish leaves, torn up
Handful of sorrel leaves
Handful of wild garlic leaves
Handful of hazelnuts
Generous handful of parmesan
1 tsp lemon juice
extra-virgin olive oil and cold-pressed rapeseed oil
Just whiz all the ingredients together in a processor with some salt and pepper, adding as much oil as needed to make a sauce that’s as loose as you like it. I think that using a mixture of both oils complements the flavour of the leaves best.
Stir the pesto into your chosen pasta, although it will also work well as a sauce to drizzle over soft cheeses or chicken or whatever you fancy.
Tomato and Wild Garlic Sauce
Alternatively, if you fancy a tomato-based sauce or if you don’t have a large number of leaves available, then this is a sweet and sour sauce with the wild garlic adding a strong savoury note. The finished sauce really doesn’t have an overly strong taste of garlic.
1 small or ½ large red onion, finely chopped
70 ml marsala
70 ml balsamic vinegar (a cheaper one will do fine)
100 g wild garlic leaves, washed, dried and chopped
400 ml passata
½ tsp sugar
Gently soften the onion in a little olive oil. After ten minutes or so, add the marsala and the balsamic vinegar. Increase the heat and reduce the liquid in the pan by half.
Stir in the wild garlic leaves and continue to cook over a medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the passata and the sugar. Cook gently for another 15 minutes or so until the mixture has thickened somewhat.
Add salt and a generous amount of pepper. You might find that the sauce needs a little more sugar as well. Serve with your chosen pasta and a sprinkling of parmesan.