Welsh wild garlic pesto & sourdough

On our recent trip to Wales our kind hosts at the Bryn Mair B&B let me take home some wild garlic from their garden. I’d already got it in my mind to try making some wild garlic pesto and to add some into the next spelt sourdough loaf that I made to see how it worked out.

Well today is the day to make the wild garlic pesto and bread combo, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and people are enjoying being outside, I think spring has finally started.

The wild garlic pesto recipe I used is from the River Cottage website by Pam ‘the Jam’.

Wild garlic pesto

Ingredients

100g wild garlic, washed and de-stalked
Large handful of basil leaves, torn (my addition to the recipe)
50g shallots, roughly chopped
50g walnuts, shelled
50g parmesan, grated
200ml olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar

Method

Wash the wild garlic leaves and remove the stalks.

Add the shallots, walnuts, wild garlic leaves, basil and 150ml of olive oil into the food processor and whizz until smooth, a minute or so should be enough.

Gently fold in the grated cheese, sugar and salt.

Put the pesto into a sterilised jar and press down with a spoon to ensure all of the air pockets are removed.

Add enough oil to cover the pesto, this is important to help it last.

The pesto should last 3 weeks in the fridge.

The spelt sourdough bread

The spelt sourdough recipe I used was one given to us at a recent PJ Taste bread workshop we attended. The full recipe can be found in my recent ‘making sourdough’ article.

We made the sourdough sponge starter the night before, then the next morning the remaining ingredients were mixed in, and kneaded into the dough.

A couple of tablespoons of the wild garlic pesto were added to the dough and gently incorporated.

The dough was then shaped, added to a greased loaf tin and left to prove in a warmish place covered with a tea towel.

After 8 hours of proving, the dough had doubled in size and was ready for baking.

The loaf was put into a pre-heated oven at its highest temperature to bake for 7 minutes, then the heat was reduced to 180C for the remaining 30 minutes.

Here is the finished result.

How did it taste?

The garlic and basil aromas coming from the bread when I took the loaf out of the oven made me want to break it open and eat it straight away.

After waiting patiently for the loaf to cool, we tried a couple of slices just as they were. The garlic pesto flavour was subtle and flavoursome. The bread had a moist texture due to the oil in the pesto, which was a bit different as spelt bread can sometimes be a bit dry. I’d definitely say that it was a step up from just a plain spelt loaf as it had more depth of flavour.

The next day we had a toasted slice rubbed with fresh garlic alongside some fish pie, it was yum. I’ve got plenty of wild garlic pesto left so I’m looking forward to trying some more recipes with it.