Sunday, 3 April 2016

Wild Garlic Harissa

The wild garlic is back in abundance, I looked a few weeks ago and it had just started, a few shoots here and there, but nothing more than a dainty garnish. A little bit of sunshine and suddenly there's a carpet of it. I filled a bin bag full last week and started to think of things I could do that I hadn't tried before...


I've made a lot of wild garlic pesto in the past, it's good in obvious things like pasta or a poached chicken salad. I like it drizzled into soup, particularly a new season nettle soup. I made some in Cook House last year and loved it. I also hadn't known until then that the new young nettle shoots don't sting you, you can just pick them with your bare hands... I'm still quite tentative though...  


Last week I made a form of green harissa for some canapes I was serving; a little fresh cheese and green harissa tart with sumac and pine nuts, they were really pretty tasty. I used coriander, parsley and rocket as the green base, but thought it would be good with wild garlic too. This green harissa is a mild form of Zhoug, a middle eastern green chilli paste.

I used two chillis, deseeded and chopped up, 60g coriander, 60g wild garlic, juice of quarter of a lemon, a pinch of salt, a good grind of black pepper. Then lightly toast half a teaspoon of coriander seeds, half a teaspoon of cumin seeds and half a teaspoon of cardamom seeds, and crush them until they are a fine powder in a pestle and mortar. Add this to your green mix and blitz the whole lot, gradually adding a stream of olive oil until you have a thick paste. It's delicious, a bit like a pesto but it has heat and spice and depth to it. It was delicious with my homemade fresh cheese.


I also added it to a salad of beetroot, feta and green lentils, lovely. A warning not to have it and go straight to a meeting, it tends to stay with you for a little while! Next up I'm trying some wild garlic oil, which you can use to drizzle into soups or salads, but sounds like it might be good to make mayonnaise with too... fried chicken and wild garlic mayo I'm thinking...




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