This quick and handy recipe uses ingredients most people already have in the house to create a vibrant condiment full of fresh, spring flavours.
Wild garlic's season is a reasonably short one, lasting from March until the end of spring, although it's leaves are best eaten before too many of its flowers bloom, so they may be past their best before then. Its lush and abundant swathes invite foragers to make the most of its bounty before it's gone and if you've already made some obligatory wild garlic pesto, then this quick ketchup is another great way to showcase the mellow-sweet garlic flavour of this allium. It's added appeal is that it uses ingredients already in most people's cupboards and freezer — frozen peas, shallot, cider vinegar and olive oil — so it's quick and easy to whizz up if you've come across some wild garlic on a walk.
Wild garlic really comes into its own when paired with other spring flavours and is great on a plate complimenting lamb or fish, new potatoes, asparagus and egg. The peas in this sauce mellow the garlic zing, meaning it doesn't over-power white fish, while the vinegar really helps it cut through fattiness, so it also works really well with lamb or salmon. That said, the ideal use for this condiment has to be to posh-up a classic fish and chips, where it acts as a cross between mushy peas and ketchup.
This isn't a ketchup that is preserved with sugars, so needs to be made fresh, although the oil and vinegar will allow it to last for up to five days kept in the fridge. Later in the year, you can also try out this recipe with fresh mint replacing wild garlic as a variation.
When foraging for wild garlic, remember it is in breach of the Wildlife and Countryside Act and Theft Act to uproot a plant without the landowner's permission, so avoid the bulbs and just take the leaves. Wild garlic does have a couple of poisonous lookalikes, so check our foraging guide for ID points.
Ingredients (makes one jar):
2 generous handfuls of wild garlic leaves, washed and picked over
300g peas (frozen is fine)
100ml cider vinegar
Approx 50ml olive oil
- Add a glug of olive oil to a frying pan and gently cook the shallots until translucent.
- Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Blanche the wild garlic for 1min before removing and placing in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process and cool.
- Repeat the process for the peas.
- Once these have cooled, remove from the bowl and wring any excess water out of the wild garlic.
- Add the wild garlic, peas, shallots and cider vinegar to a blender and blitz until the sauce becomes smooth.
- Drizzle in the olive oil until you the sauce reaches ideal consistency and then season to taste.
This ketchup is best made fresh but will last for around five days in the fridge.
Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!