Ramsons, or wild garlic, makes for easy foraging. Around now, damp woodland becomes carpeted in bright green leaves, the air heavy with its savoury aroma. If you can’t find any wild garlic, you can replace it with watercress, young nettles (wear gloves when harvesting – the sting will go when cooked!), spinach, kale or chard.
Wild garlic soup
2 potatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
2 large handfuls of wild garlic leaves, washed and roughly chopped
110ml regular or double cream
Crusty bread, to serve
1 Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. When foaming, add the potatoes and onion, and toss in the butter until well coated, then season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat down, cover the pan and cook for 10 mins or until vegetables are soft, stirring regularly so that the vegetables don’t stick and burn.
2 Next, add stock and bring to a rolling boil, then add the wild garlic leaves and cook for 2 mins or until the leaves have wilted. Don’t overcook or it will lose its fresh green colour and flavour.
3 Immediately pour into a blender and blitz until smooth, then return to the clean pan, stir in the cream and taste for seasoning.
4 Serve hot with crusty bread.
COOK’S NOTE: Harvest garlic leaves between March and May before the plant flowers. Be mindful and pick a little here and there. Wild garlic looks similar to the poisonous lily of the valley so always crush the leaves and check for the smell of garlic before picking.
Recipe from Recipes From My Mother by Rachel Allen (Harper Collins).
If you’ve got a lust for something green and pungent after that you won’t want to miss the start of our new foraging series, Finders Keepers, by Lia Leendertz (first part in our April issue, in shops now). Foraged crops are free, abundant and flavourful. All you need do is get yourself to a good spot at the right time, basket and secateurs in hand, and you have some of the best crops available. Through the foraging seasons of spring, summer and autumn, we’ll show you where to find these crops, how to pick them, and ways to turn them into delicious dishes. This month’s pages include a fabulous recipe for wild garlic, nettle and broad bean frittata that has already gone in our best recipes notebook.