It’s spring time, and you currently can’t walk more than about half a mile in the countryside without coming across wild garlic. Here’s one of my favourite recipes that makes great use of the pungent plant.

Close up of wild garlic flower

Wild garlic is one of the easiest foods to forage for, if only because your nose will locate it long before your eyes do. I love the smell so often end up grabbing a handful of leaves on a walk (and stinking out my bag/coat pocket in the process).

There are loads of ways to use the leaves such as pesto or in salads and stir-fries, but I like to make garlic dough balls (thanks for that addiction, Pizza Express). Like most bread recipes they take a bit of patience, but the result is worth it.

Wild Garlic leaves in a girl's backpack

Ingredients

  • Warm water 150ml
  • Dried yeast 7g (one sachet)
  • Caster sugar 1tsp
  • Strong bread flour 225g
  • Salt 1 tsp
  • Olive oil 1 tbsp
  • Wild Garlic leaves (5 – 7)

If you want a stronger flavour you can add 1 crushed garlic clove to the mix, but you’ll need to buy this from a supermarket as Wild Garlic doesn’t have individual cloves.

Method

  1. Finely chop the garlic leaves, and cook with oil in a frying pan for about 30 seconds until they wilt slightly.
  2. Add the sugar and yeast to warm water, stir once and leave for about 10 minutes until it forms a head.
  3. In a bowl put the flour, salt and a 1 tsp of olive oil. Add the yeast mix and stir until you have a wet dough.
  4. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 8 minutes until you have a soft and smooth dough.
  5. Lightly oil a clean bowl and put the dough. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place (e.g. a boiler cupboard) to prove for 1 hour.
  6. After the hour the dough should have doubled in size. Take out of the bowl and ‘knock back’ (hit the air out of it).
  7. Roll the dough into small and evenly sized balls about the size of a 2 pence piece.
  8. Put the balls onto a lined baking tray and cover with a light tea towel. Leave in a warm place for another hour.
  9. Once time’s up, place the trays into the oven and cook for 6-10 minutes at 180°C until light brown in colour.
  10. Serve warm, with a pot of butter for dipping.

If you want to make these ahead of time then you can baked them for slightly less time until they’re cooked but not yet golden. Freeze, then defrost when ready and finish off in the oven at the same temperature.

Wild garlic dough balls

And that’s it – so now you can sit back and enjoy eating the fruits of your labour. I’m always on the look-out for new wild garlic recipes so if you have another favourite then please do share in the comments below. Happy foraging!

N.B. Wild garlic looks quite similar to the poisonous ‘Lily of the Valley’, so when picking leaves make sure to crush or tear a few to make sure that they smell like garlic – your nose will keep you out of trouble!

Swathe of wild garlic

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