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Wild Garlic Pesto

By Lea Harris

February saw my wedding anniversary and I was lucky enough to be whisked away to Malta. I wasn't too impressed but the island and its people grew on me and so did the amazing food they grow. Golf ball sized strawberries were so sweet, juicy and packed full of strawberriness; amazing wild thyme honey, fish and seafood that made my jaw drop. But best of all were the amount of wild herbs growing in the hedgerows. Banks of wild fennel, tussocks of thyme and prickly pears, it got me thinking to the wild food that soon would be sprouting up in our neck of the woods. I remember last year, walking along the Water of Leith, the whiff of garlic, subtle with pungent bouts as the wind carried the scent to my quivering nose. I was overjoyed when I spied this tasty treat. My car reeked with its pongy perfume for days! It's not as strong as the bulbs; the flavour is mild, almost sweet. Use it in place of the traditional stuff. It's versatile, makes a good soup or sauce but I like it in a pesto that can be used in so many ways - just use your imagination!

Wild Garlic Pesto

2 large handfuls of wild garlic

2oz nuts or seeds or a mix (walnuts work well, but any nut will do)

2 oz hard dry cheese (Parmesan, hard goat or ewe) finely grated

7 fl oz oil (take your pick; I like Summer Harvest rapeseed)

Pinch salt and sugar


Pick over the garlic, remove any tough stalks. Give it a quick rinse and shake dry.

There are two ways to make this pesto, rough 'n' rustic or fine 'n' fancy.

Either coarsely chop the garlic and nuts, mix in the cheese, sugar and salt. Add ¾ of the oil and stir.

Alternatively - blitz garlic, nuts and ¾ oil in a food processor then as above.

You can store in sterilised jar with a slick of the remaining oil on top or keep in a bowl topped with oil. Both must be kept in the fridge and when you use it, mix in the oil. Any leftover pesto, return to the fridge with more oil covering it.

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