cornish wild garlic pesto

The wild garlic is booming in Cornwall. With banks of lush green foliage and pom-poms of tiny white flowers stretching out in clumps for as far as the eye can see.

It looks beautiful, and it tastes delicious. There are lots of ways to use it in cooking, throw some of the pretty flowers into a salad or pasta dish, or use the leaves as the basis for pesto – one of my all time favourite quick and easy dinners. It’s a tasty alternative to the traditional basil variety, and much cheaper if you can forage the leaves.

Here’s my little recipe:

Big bunch of wild garlic leaves
Small handful of wild garlic flowers
Parmesan or any hard Italian cheese
Olive oil
Pine nuts
Salt and pepper
Bacon (optional)
Half a lemon
All measurements are to taste, sorry not very precise, but it’s fun to play around with the ingredients and try out different flavour balances.

Finely grate the cheese.
Whizz up the wild garlic leaves, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese with a blender. It’s nice to leave it a bit chunky so there’s some texture to the dish.
Add a squeeze of lemon to the mixture, check for taste.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile boil up some pasta – I like the curly macaroni, whatever that’s called – and fry off some chopped bacon until it’s nice a crispy.
When the pasta and bacon are done, add to the same pan and stir the pesto mixture thoroughly through.
Serve immediately in bowls, garnished with the wild garlic flowers.




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  1. Pingback: mussel picking in cornwall | Adventures with the Black Dog

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