Sunday, May 11, 2008

Wild Garlic Chutney Sandwiches

A few weeks ago my husband and I found wild garlic in our garden. We have always known it was there, but we were never quite moved to use it. Foraging requires unlearning certain social beliefs--good food comes from markets, farmers grow your food; all vegetables are cultivated. I should say I am a big fan of vegetable cultivation; I can't imagine the wild artichoke is anything but choke inducing. While the cultivated often beats its wild cousin for volume, size and therefore edibility, the wild is often a small punch of flavor. There must have been something luscious that rewarded the first person who suffered through that choke that induced him/her to selectively breed this vegetable. The wild asparagus is something so lovely that it induces stalking.
Some foraged items, like ramps and dandelions, are becoming extremely fashionable. What I have come to enjoy about the foraged is the strict seasonality. It is very specific to a moment in the year; April in Cleveland. Most things these days can be put off and consumed at any time(think Tivo), but ramps come at only one time. So, recently we went to a friends house to harvest ramps and wild garlic. Now, we have been trying different ways to use them.

The wild garlic doesn't have the heat of its plump cultivated cousin. It is often considered a weed by many gardeners, and is apparently difficult to iradicate. So, it is my suggestion to give up the fight and just eat it.
You will be rewarded with a pleasant lightly kick. For the last of my wild garlic from this haul, I wanted to do something that highlights the allum loveliness and subtly. So, I decided to use it raw. When I was a child, my mother used to make chutney or pickle sandwiches. She would take processed white bread (a stand-in for the double roti of her youth), slather it with softened sweet butter and then spread it with whatever leftover coconut chutney or pickle she had in the fridge. This she paired with hot tea. (I drank milk as my accompaniment.)

This is my first ever entry for weekend herb blogging hosted this week by Laurie at Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska (who herself included a recipe and instructions for foraging--though from reading her entry there are much more exciting foraged greens in Alaska than Cleveland). It this seems hardly right to include it, as it is almost not a recipe. It is more of a suggestion to all of you to use that wild garlic and look in your garden for other wild foods.
There is one caveat--harvest ethically by only taking a small portion of what you find.

Wild Garlic Chutney
In a cast iron skillet, brown
3 T coconut
1 red chilli

In a pestle, grind
2-3 wild garlic plants (green and white)
1 stalk of chives

Add the browned coconut and combine. Salt to taste (I added a tiny pinch)

Spread the chutney on buttered toast or eat with rotis.


Laurie Constantino said...

I like everything about this; it's foraged, it's garlicky, it's spicy, it's gives me an excuse to eat bread, and it's the perfect entry for Weekend Herb Blogging. Thank you so much for sending it in!

Lucy said...

Ah, the elusive wild garlic.

Beautiful flavours.

One day, I hope to be as lucky as you.

Anonymous said...

Wild garlic is definitely my favorite new find - what a great way to use it!

Kalyn Denny said...

Sounds delicious. I've never tasted wild garlic, but I'd love to try it.

Anonymous said...

i think i could live on this, some butter and and some good bread.

confound the lack of wild garlic growing in the city.

maybelles mom said...

I am glad for all the comments, thanks. I hope that many of you will have garlic breath soon.