By: Blonde Two
When I was considering how to encourage you all (and myself) to get out walking in 2019 I decided that, for me at least, efforts to combine walking and food might prove to be the ideal walking and Get Outside incentive. We tend to associate food foraging with the summer or autumn months but down here in Devon, I am discovering that it is possible to forage for food on land all year round. I am also planning a bit of seaweed foraging in the near future! I could give you all kinds of sensible advice here about not eating strange fungi (or indeed fun guys), only foraging where you are allowed to (so not on allotments unless they are yours) and correctly identifying your foragees (I recommend Rachel Lambert’s Wild Food Foraging and Seaweed foraging books if you live in the South West) but you are all grown-ups and can choose to eat what you like. I will take no responsibility for that at all.
I have been refining this recipe for a while now. It uses three-cornered leek or Allium triquetrum, which is an invasive species that looks a bit like bluebell stalks (don’t eat those) but has white flowers (in the spring), a distinctive onion smell when crushed (or even when not crushed) and a triangle shape to its lower stalk.
Winter Foraged Wild Pesto (4 servings)
4 handfuls of three-cornered leek leaves (you don’t need to pull up the whole plant)
Around 75g of walnuts
Around 50g of grated parmesan (cheddar makes a tasty substitute but alters the consistency of the pesto)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Olive oil to taste (start with a tablespoon)
Several good grinds of black pepper
Lemon juice to taste (start with half a lemon)
Pick the Allium leaves from a spot where it is plentiful and out of dog reach (this is no time to be picking the low hanging fruit!) Wash the leaves carefully and leave them to drain (this allows time for any persistent snails to crawl out).
Put two of the handfuls of leaves into a food processor or blender (I prefer my food processor), add salt, pepper and the first taste of lemon juice and olive oil, then blend into a pulp on a fast speed, gradually adding the rest of the leaves as you go.
On a slower speed add the walnuts and parmesan (or cheddar) and blend until a rough sauce has been created. Taste this, marvel at your expertise and then add more seasoning, lemon juice and olive oil as required. Toss the finished pesto over hot, fresh spaghetti and finish with a final flourish of parmesan and ground black pepper.
Eat and enjoy!
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