Source: Switzerland; cir. Since forever!
Wild garlic pesto is a seasonal dish I look forward to making every spring. I could almost mark it on the calendar to symbolize the beginning of spring, but it’s certain in Switzerland, and perhaps in many parts of the world, when you see the green leaves rise from the ground, Spring has literally sprung!
Before my move to Switzerland, I had no idea what spring garlic, wild garlic, or locally called “Bärlauch” was. Yet, this well-known, well sought after wild forage is known to every”older” Swiss in every region. My first introduction to “barlauch” was while walking with a local Swiss woman. She told me to bring a bag along for our walk. I had no idea why, but I did anyhow. She took me to a well shaded hillside, near a nice creek, and showed me the abundance of this wild garlic. The entire hillside was green with barlauch! We began to pick and pick and pick, until our bags were filled with this aromatic, deliciously smelling herb. This lovely green broad leaf is the first layer of green to appear on the forest floors, along the babbling brooks, and certainly, in the gardens of many fortunate people. It’s the first sign of spring around here.
The Swiss love to cook with barlauch. They especially love making soup with it, and of course, pesto. You can pick an abundance and bring it home, wash it, and dry it off, and plan on making a year’s worth of garlic pesto to sit in your freezer. It’s ready for you anytime you need it for pizza, pasta or soup. It’s delicious! Very aromatic, strong and yes, healthy. Beware though, you should pick it only when it’s fresh and before it flowers. The plant becomes poisonous when it flowers, but not before.
Wild Pesto Sauce
- 2 to 3 handfulls Bärlauch fresh spring garlic
- 3 to 4 TBS pine nuts
- 5 to 6 TBS parmesan grated
- 5 to 6 TBS olive oil
- 1 to 2 dashes salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb pasta penne, spaghetti, whatever you desire
- Wash your leaves, and put in food processor, along with your pine nuts, cheese, olive oil and seasons.
- Blend in food processor until smooth. If needed, add a bit of olive oil, or a smudge of warm water or cream to get a smooth texture.
Mix into cooked pasta. Serve and enjoy.