Have you ever tried wild garlic? It’s in season right now, which means you can go and pick them from an obliging meadow or maybe in a forest – I’d expect to find them much the same places as wild nettle.
Their long luscious green leaves and white flowers look suspiciously unlike the pale oniony garlic you are familiar with. But if on your walk through the forest a pungent smell springs on you there’s no doubt: you’ve hit a garlic goldmine (you lucky bastard).
There have been no excursions to the forest for me this week so my batch came from the Stockbridge Market and a particular favourite vegetable vendor. I’d never cooked with wild garlic before so I wanted to try out a few things; in this recipe, some of the garlic goes raw into the risotto and some of it is baked and used as a decorative finish. It really benefits from a quick roasting – it brings out its flavour. So do the contrasts of sweetness from the carrot and rich creaminess from the goat’s cheese. This risotto is definitely going to get a regular gig in my kitchen.
200 ml risotto rice
chicken or vegetable stock
1 pint carrot juice (no sugar added)
200 g wild garlic
a knob of butter
a squeeze of lemon juice
freshly ground pepper
100 g creamy goat’s cheese, cut into rounds
1. Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Cut 5-10 garlic leaves into smaller pieces, toss with a tablespoon of olive oil and arrange on a baking tray lined with baking parchment. Roast in the oven for about 10-15 minutes until they are browned, crisp and beautifully translucent. Set aside to cool.
2. Dice the remaining wild garlic and the onion. In a large jug, mix boiling hot stock with carrot juice 50/50.
3. In a saucepan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and sauté the onion and risotto rice for about 5 minutes. Then gradually add stock/carrot juice, stirring constantly and adding more as the rice absorbs the liquid. This process takes about 20 minutes, by which time your rice should be cooked.
4. Add the chopped wild garlic (the non-roasted ones) along with some lemon juice, butter and a generous grinding of pepper. If you like you can stir in a round of goat’s cheese, too – be sure to mix it well.
5. Spoon a helping of risotto onto a plate and top with a round of goat’s cheese and a few decorative roasted wild garlic leaves.