I am noticing that we seem to be about 2 weeks ahead of where nature was a year ago. Last year the wild garlic really didn’t appear where I was until the third week in April, whereas this year it was popping up at the end of March and is really in its prime around mid-April.
Delicious stirred through pasta or used to flavour butter, this year a favourite seems to be potato salad dressed in pesto made from these fragrant leaves. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, but still warm, douse them in as much pesto as takes your fancy – the potatoes will absorb the oil and magically, this does not seem to lose its verdant greenness if left to sit out on the table or kept in the fridge for a few days.
Trout and potatoes are well matched and as an oily fish, it’s a light option for a fast but nourishing supper. Salad vegetables that survive the cooler winter months are still good with parsley from the garden now benefitting from the extra bit of heat in the springtime and blood oranges and chicory still coming in from Italy in great condition. The bitter chicory and fresh citrus balance the oily fish and filling potato.
All in all, a tasty and quick meal that will leave you feeling satisfied and nourished – my kinda food!
What you need to serve 2:
- Potatoes boiled, 3-4
- Wild Garlic Pesto*, about 2 heaped dessertspoons
- Mayonnaise, 1 heaped dessertspoon
- Salt, pepper
- Trout, 2 sides
- Chicory, 1
- Blood oranges, 2
- Parsley, a handful
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
What to do:
- Peel the boiled potatoes and roughly chop into chunks. Add the wild garlic pesto and mayonnaise and gently fold together. Taste and adjust seasoning according to your preferences. Set aside.
- Segment the blood oranges, finely chop the parsley and take apart the chicory, chopping a leaf for a garnish.
- Heat some oil in a frying pan over a high/moderate heat, pat dry the trout and once the oil is nicely hot place the trout skin side down into the pan. If you like, and if you have some, toss in a slice of wild garlic butter – your kitchen will soon smell amazing! Leave the trout to cook like this until the flesh is turning from a vivid shade to a more pastel shade – opaque if you like! At this point, carefully lift the fish up and flip it over to finish cooking for about 30-60 seconds. Then take it off the heat and leave to settle for a few minutes.
- At this point, you could now toss the chicory leaves in a drop of olive oil mixed with a spoon of the blood orange juice.
- When ready to serve, place a few chicory leaves on plates, rest the trout on top and scatter the chopped chicory and blood oranges around the plate. Finish with the parsley, some nice extra virgin olive oil and a scattering of sea salt.
*To make the Wild Garlic Pesto
- In a pestle & mortar/mini-blender/chopper stuff in as many wild garlic leaves as you like.
- Crumble in a corner of parmesan cheese, or if you don’t have that, some cheddar, about 50g, add a handful of cashew nuts, a very small clove of garlic peeled, some extra virgin olive oil, about 2 dessertspoons and a pinch of freshly ground pepper.
- Blitz it all up until it looks like a paste and add some more oil if you feel it may be too thick. This keeps in the fridge covered for about 1 week.
I’m not telling you where exactly my preferred patch of wild garlic is, but I will tell you that there is lots of it on the Leafy Loop walk in Durrow, Co. Laois, read on if you want to find out more!