Wild garlic pesto

I imagine you are basking in spring sunshine as well (mixed with a few cloudy days now and then) and are buying every green shoot & leaf on the markets yourselves. A while ago I had a quick chat with Sophie James about a pesto with wild garlic and the thought has not left my mind.

Bärlauch- or Wild garlic pesto

Thankfully ramsons or German: Bärlauch are abundant now and I made a few batches experimenting with different nuts. Astonishingly walnuts, which I had imagined as a brilliant contender, completely killed of the sharp grassy & herby taste of the wild garlic and basically bulldozed flattened the pesto. Tja, next. Blanched almonds worked well, though, in my book nothing beats the creamy smoothness that pine nuts can give to a pesto. Always a stickler for proper pesto making (pestle & mortar), in dealing with wild garlic, I prefer the rapid pureeing powers of the blender to preserve the (almost neon) vivid green colour.

Now, what to do with those jars of wild garlic pesto? They look tiny now, but contain a concentrate and a little goes a long way. Plus, the Bärlauchpesto packs quite a punch and sports a certain sharpness, so it is in need of proper vehicles:

  • Good company to grilled lamb chops (serve with these lemony giant beans & fennel with dill)
  • Lunch of artichokes: mix a spoonful with mayo & more lemon juice for a grassy green dip to dunk each artichoke leaf and lick your fingers afterwards
  • Of course pasta: linguini with wild garlic pesto for a light supper
  • Any grilled meat, fish, vegetables like peppers, green asparagus, corn…
  • Knead into some butter for a quick compound butter to melt on your Sunday steak (oh, that was quite the thing & I might never make ordinary garlic butter again)
  • Make wild garlic bread: spread between barely cut baguette, wrap in foil and bake – yum
  • We tried these as garlic shoestring fries as well…

You can smell our house from space.


Wild garlic pesto

for two small Weck jars (140ml)

a bunch of wild garlic (just the leaves weighed 130g in the end)
50g (¼ cup) pine nuts, toasted in a dry pan
40g (1.5 oz) Parmigiano reggiano or Grana pardano, grated
lemon juice
olive oil

Roughly chop the wild garlic and blend (only a short burst) them together with the pine nuts. Add the cheese, some salt, a spritz of lemon juice and some olive oil to the blender and give it another quick blitz & adjust the seasoning to your taste. Add more oil if you are using the pesto right away to achieve a runnier consistency. Otherwise (if you want to store an amount for a couple of days or more – ours was good for 2 weeks) spoon the concentrated paste into small jars while making sure no bubbles are visible throughout and top with a layer of olive oil to prevent discolouring. Store in the fridge until used.

genug für zwei kleine Weckgläser (140ml)

1 Bund Bärlauch (nur die Blätter wogen 130g)
50g Pinienkerne, in einer trockenen Pfanne getoasted
40g Parmigiano reggiano oder Grana pardano, gerieben

Den Bärlauch grob hacken und zusammen mit den abgekühlten Pinienkernen nur kurz in einem Blender oder einer Küchenmaschine zerkleinern, dann den Parmesan, etwas Salz, einen Spritzer Zitronensaft und etwas Olivenöl hinzugeben und wieder nur in kurzen Intervallen hacken (es sollte kein Püree werden) & nach Geschmack nachwürzen. Will man das Pesto sofort essen, mehr Öl hinzugeben um eine etwas flüssigere Konsistenz zu erhalten, will man es aber ein paar Tage aufbewahren, dann sollte man die konzentrierte Paste in ein kleines Glas löffeln (darauf achten, dass sich keine Luftblasen in der Masse befinden) und abschließend mit einer Schicht Olivenöl bedecken damit kein Sauerstoff an das Pesto kommt und es die Farbe verliert.

Verwendung: als Sauce zu gegrillten Lammkoteletts oder anderem gegrillten Fleisch, Fisch, Gemüse, verrührt mit Mayonnaise & mehr Zitronensaft als Dip für Artischocken, klassisch mit Pasta, als garlic fries (Knoblauch-Pommes), mit etwas Butter zu einer himmlischen Kräuterbutter verknetet & auf einem Sonntagssteak schmelzen lassen, zu Spargel servieren, Knoblauchbrot… ach, ich werde hungrig.

3 thoughts on “Wild garlic pesto

    • Hi Sophie,
      pleasure. Do try and if you are a little homesick for some Americana: toss some of the concentrated pesto with thin fries. We had some extremely garlicky fries at a roadside diner while driving around Lake Tahoe and those were a revelation & these are even better. Oops, just a tad of blowing one’s own trumpet… Happy Easter. N. (had to edit, I liked the trumpet better)

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