From Trail to Table: Wild Garlic Bread Recipe
Until this year, I’d never paid attention to wild garlic in the woods, let alone considered using it in my kitchen. However, foraging is a pet peeve of mine and on a recent hike, we walked past a gigantic patch of pretty white flowers smelling like a garlic pizza. Wild garlic! I could not resist harvesting a few plants to test them out at home. As a result, this is my wild garlic bread recipe, a recipe that calls for only 4 ingredients. It was a big success with vegetable soup at dinner time. See my girls’ hands in the picture?
Harvesting Wild Garlic
Also called ransoms, wild garlic is a plant that looks like lily of the valley (broad smooth leaves) but with starry white flowers instead of pretty bells. Plus, you’ll know by the smell. It’s strong! Where do you find it? Wild garlic is a native European plant that grows in deciduous damp woodland in spring and, in England, can be found next to bluebells.
When I stumbled upon the patch, I wasn’t sure which part of the plant was edible so I dug the ground with a spoon and foraged all of it – the stem, the leaves and the flowers. As it turns out, the whole plant is edible but cooks mostly use the leaves. Apparently, wild garlic is all the range at fancy restaurant tables and you can even buy it in specialty markets. That said, I much prefer gathering it for free on a sunny spring day.
At home, I rinsed the wild garlic thoroughly to remove traces of dirt and insects and dried it before considering my options. Wild garlic bread seemed obvious at the family table.
To Make Wild Garlic Bread
I started by chopping a couple of plants, which yielded roughly half a cup of leaves, stems and flowers.
In a bowl, I melted 2 tablespoons of butter and added the chopped wild garlic, sea salt and olive oil. I mixed with a spoon.
After preheating the oven at 200C/400F, I pulled bread rolls from their package. Now, I only used bread rolls because we were having soup for dinner and it was convenient, but if you prefer to go the traditional route, use a loaf. I made deep slits in the bread and gently opened them to spoon in and spread the mixture. My girls were getting seriously hungry at that point.
I wrapped the rolls in foil and baked them 10 minutes in the oven.
The hardest part – waiting another 5 minutes! I opened the foil and baked 5 more minutes, open. This toasted the top of the bread rolls nicely.
Tada! My girls didn’t even wait for the bread rolls to be warm before helping themselves. As far as the taste, it wasn’t violently garlicky but closer to chives with a hint of garlic. Anyhow, it was delicious and we loved that we could make garlic bread out of a plant harvested in the forest!
- 2 plants wild garlic, chopped - makes about ½ cup
- 2 tablespoons of butter, very soft or almost melted
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- ½ teaspoon of sea salt
- 3 bread rolls
- In a bowl, mix the wild garlic, butter, olive oil and salt.
- Cut deep slits almost but not quite to the base of the bread rolls.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/400F.
- Spoon in and spread the wild garlic mixture in the bread "slices."
- Wrap the bread rolls or loaf in foil.
- Bake n the oven 10 minutes.
- Open the foil and bake another 5 minutes. You may need longer with a larger loaf, trust your nose.
- Eat as soon as cold enough to handle!
Also. This recipe calls for bread rolls but feel free to be creative. Ciabatta or baguette work wonders too. You'll just need to harvest more wild garlic to fill the slices!