Wild Garlic Pesto

This is possibly my favourite way of using wild garlic. The long, floppy leaves, pale stalks and a few flowers went into this pesto along with equal weights of toasted pine kernels and finely grated Parmesan. I like it thick and spreadable but add more olive oil for a slacker version. I also added a lump of soft butter, a tip from Simon Hopkinson (he once told me off for giving a recipe for watercress pesto, saying pesto must be made with basil to be pesto). The butter stops the pesto splitting, not that it really matters. 

For a quick easy lunch, I love this garlicky pesto slathered on sourdough toast with lumps of Greek feta and slices of winter tomato (so expensive, but so delicious) with a few black olives. I’ll be serving it again with chicken escalopes for supper. Use it in any way you would serve regular pesto: in pasta, with tomatoes, with simply cooked white fish, with chicken, with lamb kebabs. With everything.

Serves 6-8

Prep: 8 min

Cook: 2-3 min

1 tbsp flavourless cooking oil

75g pine kernels

125g wild garlic/ransoms

8-10 tbsp best olive oil

75g finely grated Parmesan

knob of soft butter

     Heat the oil in a frying pan over a medium heat and when hot, stir in the pine kernels. Keep stirring, tossing until light golden. Tip onto a fold of kitchen paper to drain and pat dry. Place in the bowl of a food processor with the roughly chopped wild garlic, 2 tbsp olive oil, a generous pinch salt and a few twists of black pepper. Blitz to chop, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. With the motor running, add the remaining olive oil in a trickle until nicely smooth. Scrape into a mixing bowl and fold in the Parmesan. Add the butter and mix to disperse. Transfer to a bowl or lidded glass jar and chill until ready to use. It will keep safely for several days in the fridge.