Can you believe that it’s spring already? Before I could prepare, the summer is almost here, and the plants in the garden are going crazy. Every time I look out the window, I am surprised with how green it’s become over a period of only a couple of weeks.
It’s been raining here for the past few days, and the heavy rainfall combined with warm temperatures propelled the plants to sprout, grow, blossom and explode in all colours and shades of green. Needless to say, the forest and meadows are already inviting the forager to taste the wild bounty: the dandelion season is almost over, elderflowers are beginning to bloom, and I almost missed the wild garlic season this year (again!) – everything seems to be growing at the same this spring. How to keep up?
Nonetheless, I did manage to get hold of some wild garlic leaves last week and put them to good use. It’s been three years since I last had wild garlic pesto, let alone pasta with it (which I also made, by the way, a recipe to follow soon!). The last time, however, was so memorable, it made me crave wild garlic immensely; the flavour of that homemade pasta with wild garlic pesto and toasted hazelnuts eaten on a warm Istrian evening ingrained itself in my palate and memory. Thank you, Anna!
I was over the moon when I finally got to revisit that memory this year, and with the same excitement, I am sharing the recipe for the wild garlic and walnut pesto now. And what’s great about this recipe? Once the wild garlic season is over, you can replace it with parsley, carrot tops, celery leaves, dandelion leaves or the more traditional basil. Oh, and you can also change the nuts!
Forgive the pesto’s chunkiness, it was made entirely by hand, using only (tiny!) mortar and pestle. No excuses then for not having the proper equipment to make it! The recipe below, enjoy everyone!
Wild Garlic and Walnut Pesto
100g wild garlic
50g hard grating cheese (Parmesan or similar)
50g chopped walnuts or other nuts (hazelnuts, pine nuts)
freshly ground pepper
squeeze of lemon juice
HOW TO MAKE?
- Wash the garlic leaves well and chop them a bit, so they fit into the mortar (if it’s tiny like mine). Work the leaves with a pestle until they are fairly broken down.
- Add grated cheese (in two additions if your mortar is small), and keep working with the pestle to break the leaves down. The cheese will help.
- Add chopped walnuts and olive oil. You will see how much olive the pesto needs; if too difficult to work with it – add a bit more olive oil until you get desired consistency.
- Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste.
- You can store your pesto in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days, and enjoy it on sandwiches or with pasta. It can also be frozen, to keep the spring flavours for longer.