Around about now (between March and May), damp woodland becomes carpeted in bright green leaves, the air heavy with its garlic smell. Wild Garlic has been used in Irish food for 100s of years, and in a whole range of recipes from soups and salads to marinades and pesto.
Try to harvest the Wild Garlic leaves before the plant flowers, for the best flavour, and always crush the leaves to check for the garlic smell before picking.
There are lots of Wild Garlic Soup recipes but I like the vibrant green colour of Rachel Allen’s recipe.
25g (1oz) butter
2 medium potatoes, roughly 275g (10oz) peeled and diced
1 medium onion, about 150g (5½oz) chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 litre (1¾pts) chicken or vegetable stock
2 big handfuls of wild-garlic leaves, about 100g (3½oz), roughly chopped
100ml (3½fl oz) cream
Crusty bread to serve
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. When the butter is foaming, toss the diced potatoes and the chopped onions in the butter until they are well coated and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the potatoes and onions are soft.
Next, add the stock and bring it to the boil. Add the roughly chopped wild-garlic leaves and cook them for about 2 minutes until they have wilted. Don’t overcook or it will loose its fresh green colour and flavour.
Immediately liquidise the soup, return it to the pan, stir in the cream and taste for seasoning.
Serve hot with crusty bread.