This Easter, how about going for a walk in the woods and come back with lunch. Wild garlic is everywhere at this time of year and is not only great to eat but also has many of the health benefits of the cultivated garlic, such as being effective in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also transforms a simple omelette in to something special. Here’s how…
The Foraging Bit
According to foraging website hedgerow-harvest.com, Wild Garlic (or Ramsons to give them their proper name) can be found across most of the country. In fact, in England & Wales there is barely a 10 kilometre square without it at this time of year. It is found in damp, ancient deciduous woodlands, shady lanes and some hedgerows. Like bluebells, it prefers slightly acidic soils so if you know a good bluebell wood it might have Wild Garlic too.
The easiest way to find it is to let your nose be your guide. You are looking for bright green single stem leaves with a single upright white stem of flowers. There are a few other (potentially poisonous) things that look similar so to be sure you have found the right thing, crush a leaf and smell. If garlic fills the air then you have found your man.
For this recipe it’s the leaves you are after. Snip a few here and there (so as not to leave bald patches on the ground). Go for young leaves before the plant has flowered as these are the gentlest and tastiest. You only need a handful so forage responsibly.
The Cooking Bit
The leaves wilt pretty fast so be gentle with them and plan to eat them sooner rather than later (you can keep them overnight in a tied up plastic bag). Wash thoroughly and gently dry off before using. Now get some fresh eggs and let’s make lunch…
Melt a knob of butter in your best (non-stick) omelette pan – ideally one with a metal handle. Drop a handful of leaves in to the melted butter to wilt them. Whisk 2-3 eggs, add salt and pepper to taste and pour in to the pan over the leaves. Cook over a hot heat until it starts to solidify (ruffle the edges a bit to get a fluffier finish and let the eggy bits hit the pan).
When it starts to brown on the bottom, fold over a third and then pop in a hot oven/under the grill for a minute to finish. You want the middle to be just solid (not rubbery). Slide out on to a plate.