Wild garlic pesto


I've mentioned our local organic farm where we buy our eggs several times before. They also sometimes sell some locally produced food items. We spotted this wild garlic, or bärlauch pesto the other day and had to try it. (Ironically it turns out it's made by one of our neighbors who lives across the street.)

Wild garlic grows in some forests, and it's said that cows love it so much that they break away from the herd to make their way into the forest and munch on this spring delicacy. People even claim that the butter sold in spring has a faint garlicky flavor because of this. I've never been able to detect that...but maybe I'm not buying the right brand of butter.

Anyway, this pesto was quite assertively redolent of garlic, with some onion-like flavor too. It's sort of like a cross between chives and Chinese garlic, or nira. Besides the wild garlic, it had olive oil and ground pine nuts and almonds in it. I had it on hot pasta with some grated cheese (Spanish Manchego, since that's all that was in the refrigerator), and it was quite delicious.

I'm not sure we have wild garlic in the woods around here, but I may try to emulate this pesto with the chives growing in the garden.

Filed under:  swiss spring sauce pasta

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a local organic farm? sounds good. where is it? is it close to me? i'm in meilen, down the lake a bit. i still can't quite believe that there aren't big produce markets here. or perhaps i just haven't found them yet...

Hey, I just made Bärlauch Pesto myself! There is a lot of Bärlauch around Dresden (Eastern Germany) - all you have to know is the right places ,-)

OK, Meilen might not have many farmers left ... that town is more known for cleaning supplies (warning: obscure Swiss German pun; untranslatable). However, what you might look around is for "Wochenmarkt" in the local "Anzeiger" (I think it is the Anzeiger für den Bezirk Meilen).

Then, there are regular markets in Zürich (for example at the Bürkliplatz, or in Altstetten, or in Oerlikon), where farmers from the region sell their produce. There is also the Wochenmarkt in the main concourse of the Hauptbahnhof. And, just last Saturday, I have seen a few market stands on the Limmatquai, just at the Central.

There are several farmers in the region who have direct sale from the farm. Some have a little store, others have a simple stand for a few hours every week. It is not uncommon that they also sell fresh milk (which means that they are open in the evening between 18:00 and 19:00). I found two websites containing further links to such farmers. But note that these are definitely not all of them; you sometimes just find them when passing by and they have a sign "Eier" or "Aepfel" or "Kartoffeln" or whatever they have available.

The links are: http://www.zol.ch/bauernhof/start.cfm (that's pretty much your region) or http://www.bauernmarkt.ch/ (which is the farmer market section of the Swiss Farmers Newspaper (Schweizer Bauer), then go to the "Detaillierte Suche" and enter the two first numbers of your postal code, which then leads you to the farms in your vincinity).

Those are my kind of cows! The pesto looks just delicious!

thanx a lot, max! that's very helpful.

How does wild garlic differ from tame garlic? Is it the same flavor but a bit more... something? Or is it an entirely different beast?

along the lines of barett's question, might any of the things you mentioned be what I call chinese garlic chives? we've let them run wild over part of the side yard. they are thin, long and dark green and develop clover-like purple flowers. I use them almost more as vegetable than seasoning and they are slightly sweet.

They are related, but different plants.

Wild garlic is Allium ursinum, and tame garlic (I love that differentiation) is Allium sativum.

For a comprehensive comparision, you might have a look at Gernot Katzer's Spice Dictionary. For Allium ursinum you would go to http://www-ang.kfunigraz.ac.at/~katzer/engl/generic_frame.html?Alli_sat.... and for Allium sativum you would go to http://www-ang.kfunigraz.ac.at/~katzer/engl/generic_frame.html?Alli_urs.....

From Allium usrsinum you would use the leaves, whereas from Allium sativum you would use the bulbs.

I was at Horsted Keynes in Sussex yesterday visiting the Bluebell Railway and on the way home could smell the strong scent of wild garlic, I recently had watched video of Escape to River Cottage with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and a recipe he concocted using wild garlic so I stopped and picked some of the leaves - these ones had white petals and there were also pink ones! apparently the flowers do not always come out. I was hoping to check out a recipe just using the leaves. Can anyone give me details. thanks Jane

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i was just really very hungry. is my BOTD, why, cause it's full of yummy food. I want that pesto. Cookies too, yum.

I've been doing a bit of research and am torn between the tow schools of thought, are there any purists out there that could advise me on the issues below?
1. Chedder or Parmesan?
2. Walnuts or almonds or nuts at all?
3. when it says Wild Garlic Leaves (what do you do with the little white bulbs?)

Thanks for the help

hmm... good questions:

  1. Parmesan is best for pesto, though I'd try wild garlic pesto with no cheese at all too. (pesto just means 'paste' and doesn't have to have cheese in it)

  2. If you add nuts I would like the traditional pine nuts.

  3. The little bulbs can be used like shallots or regular garlic.

I sell wild garlic and wild onions from oklahoma if you are looking to buy some give me a email at xwooby@aol.com