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leeks with wild garlic

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Wild garlic

Wild garlic, bear’s garlic or ramsons turns up in spring in woody, wet, marshy lands and down in the overgrown part of my garden. I’ll admit the latter is not that wild as I’d planted it a couple of years back so I should perhaps call it tame garlic. The wide flat leaves, bright green or yellowing slightly if there’s not much sun reaching them, can easily be confused with lily-of-the-valley and other grass-like growth but I promise the genuine article will always be scarcer. Oh, and strongly smelling of garlic.

It is indigenous to Britain and I’m not entirely sure how common it is outside the British Isles, but seeing as it’s called bear’s leek I figure it must be: no bears here. So if you go down to the woods today

Leeks with wild garlic

I treat it as I would a herb, adding to salads and meats or flavouring soups. This recipe features a matching pair of alliums: common leeks and bear’s leeks, and they complement each other in a harmonious way.

Needless to say, you can cook leeks like this without wild garlic: dill does nicely, or a bit of ordinary garlic and some chopped parsley.

leeks with wild garlic

Servings: 2Time: 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 large leeks, trimmed and washed well
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • a bunch of wild garlic, washed and roughly chopped
  • 50g soft blue cheese (Danish Blue, Gorgonzola, Fourme d'Ambert)
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. double cream
Wild garlic


METHOD

Cut each leek in half lengthwise and then chop across into 3cm pieces. Melt the butter with oil in a pan over high heat. Add the leeks, season with salt, pepper and the nutmeg and cook for a minute or two without stirring. When they just start to caramelise at the bottom turn the heat down to medium and stir in the wild garlic.

Cooking creamy leeks

Crumble in the blue cheese; add the lemon juice and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes on medium heat. When they look wilted and softened, add the double cream, briefly bring it to the boil and transfer to a serving dish or the plates.

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