Style & Simplicity: The wonders of wild garlic

Take, for example, that vague, primordial compunction to select a stout stick as one sets off for a walk in the countryside. It is, so the all-but-unconscious thought process goes, better to have a stout stick and not need it than it is to need a stout stick and not have one.

The same goes for those old carrier bags that currently hang in a bag of their own from the kitchen door-knob or sit in a cupboard taking up an inexplicable amount of space. They should, we suggest, be distributed among the pockets of every coat hanging by the back door, for it would be a very great shame to happen upon a pungent patch of wild garlic and find oneself without the wherewithal to carry one’s bounty home. After all, at this time of year, when the fishing has yet to start in earnest and one’s guns are safely locked away ‘til August, we may as well take when consolation we can from our native flora to make up for the lack of available fauna.

Regular readers will be familiar with The Martini Rule and its seemingly endless application to everything from watch design to formal attire. The elegant simplicity of its formula - main ingredient (gin), subordinate ingredient (vermouth), grace note (twist or olive) – can also be applied to the preparation of wild garlic pesto: Main ingredient (wild garlic); subordinate ingredient (parmesan); grace-note (roasted cashew nuts). Simply blend the three altogether with olive oil, salt and pepper to form a paste and there you have it.

Spooned through pasta or spread over fish, this glorious myrtle-green concoction takes less than fifteen minutes to prepare, keeps for weeks in the fridge, and is as much a sign of spring having sprung as anything one cares to mention.