They appeared a month back, awakening the woodland on the edge of Ragman’s Lane Farm in Gloucestershire. Then in Norfolk the woods and gardens started billowing. On Clare Island a tiny planted patch had spread providing a lush early spring ground-cover just outside the kitchen window of the old cottage. I blogged about it in Pestos and Vinaigrettes, The Outdoor Lab put it in Potato Dauphinoise and Bacon Sarnies, I ate it in secretive, unblogged Omelettes… In Ireland I chopped it with nettles into a raw Jerusalem Artichoke Salad, then I chopped it into Christophe’s dreamy Raw Cow’s Cheese for breakfast, and then into raw Parsnip and Apple Salad. Suddenly Food Urchin did a mammoth Garlic blog, comprising of a traditional Pesto, a Soup, a very photogenic and doubtless palatable Bread… and then, out of the blue, the EDP featured a Celeriac Soup with Wild Garlic Puree.
The scavengers’ secret is a secret no more. Fortunately there is plenty to go round, and a few months still remaining of the season… Ramsons or Wild Garlic can be recognised by its flat rounded blades of leaves, its tiny starry white flowers on a long stalk, and of course its pungent garlic smell.
Celeriac Soup with Wild Garlic Puree (EDP March 26th 2011)
50g Plain Flour
1kg Celeriac, peeled and cut into chunks.
2 lt Veg stock [make your own!]
3 Garlic cloves
350ml Double Cream
Cook celeriac in stock. Separately fry up rest of ingredients except cream. Add Celeriac, Stock and blend. Heat adding cream, on a low heat.
Wild Garlic Puree
Bunch of Wild Garlic
500ml Olive Oil
Rapidly blanche Garlic. Shake off most of water. Blend drizzling Olive Oil into mixture. Add squeeze garlic pinch of salt. Blend adding rest of Olive Oil to nice green purée. Swirl into Soup at last minute and add chopped Wild Garlic Leaves.
Celeriac should be out of the ground now, as the Spring Equinox has passed and it will go to seed. It can however still be stored in a cool, dry place with air circulating.
I will post the aforementioned Raw Salad recipes on a later occasion… keep an eye out.
(Also to look out for now: Young Nettle Tops, early Plantain leaves, Sea-Beet, Dandelions – beginning to flower, Wild Sorrel – arrow shaped heads in pastures and, apparently, disused railway lines, Watercress, Jack-by-the-hedge, Goosegrass, Good-King Henry… to name but a few.)