In Europe spring is the high time of the bear garlic or wild garlic which is a wild relative of chives native to Europe and Asia. The Latin name is due to the brown bear’s taste for the bulbs and its habit of digging up the ground to get at them; they are also a favourite of wild boar. It flowers before deciduous trees leaf in the spring, filling the air with their characteristic garlic-like scent. However in Europe, where ramsons/wild garlics are popularly harvested from the wild, because its similarity to poisonous plants to the Lily of the Valley, regularly leads to cases of poisoning!
The leaves of wild garlic are edible; they can be used as salad, herb, boiled as a vegetable, in soup, or as an ingredient for pesto in lieu of basil. The stems are preserved by salting and eaten as a salad in Russia. A variety of Cornish Yarg cheese has a rind coated in wild garlic leaves. The bulbs and flowers are also edible. The leaves are also used as fodder.
It is interesting that cows that have fed on ramsons give milk that tastes slightly of garlic, and butter made from this milk used to be very popular in 19th-century Switzerland.
- 25 g butter
- 1 medium potato, cut into 1 cm cubes
- 1 (about 150g) medium onion, chopped
- 1 litre vegetable stock
- 4 big handfuls (about 200g) of wild garlic leaves, chopped
- 100 ml double creamfor the semolina noodles: 3 eggs, 100 gr semolina flour or more, salt, one teaspoon of butter or oil
- Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. When foaming, add the potatoes and onion, then toss until well coated. Season. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
- Add the stock, bring to the boil, then add the wild garlic and cook for 2 minutes until wilted. Immediately liquidise the soup with a hand-held stick blender, then return to the pan, stir in the cream, taste and season.
- Prepare the semolina noodles: beat the eggs, add salt and oil then mix in enough semolina until dough will be tick enough. Let it rest for half an hour until the semolina has absorbed a bit. Boil water with a little salt, then using a teaspoon or tablespoon add noodles into water and cook without covering about 10-15 minutes. Then let it rest for a while again. Strain them through the sieve. Serve wild garlic soup in hot with the semolina noodles.