Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Ransom wars

I think it is finally spring. Or at least, a few errant days of faux spring before real spring arrives. There will be all sorts of my favourite things available, and we can all finally bid a slightly jaded farewell to the parsnip and the jerusalem artichoke (and all their rooty friends). 

Wild garlic leaf season is definitely one of my most eagerly anticipated delights, in good company with English asparagus season and Piedmont porcini-and-truffle o' clock. I was finally rewarded last week and promptly over-ordered with glee, especially as I'd been discussing how soon they would arrive with my friend Oliver at Konstam, and knew he'd have to wait longer to get some from within Greater London, whereas I could cheat and accept those from anywhere nearish. (Although I wasn't in the lead for long as a professional London forager turned up at Konstam with a big sack of them yesterday).
Obviously, I've been slinging them in everything willy nilly all week, (Chicken, salsify and w.g.l. pie... smoked haddock, gruyere and w.g.l tart...) but my favourite new usage has been wild garlic leaf aioli, which today is befriending some confit pig cheeks, chicory and croutons in a nice fatty spring salad.

Wild garlic leaf aioli:

5 egg yolks
1 crushed clove garlic
1 pint mildly flavoured oil 
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of half a lemon
sea salt
2 generous handfuls ransom leaves, shredded

Add the milder oil to the egg yolks and crushed garlic drop by drop to form a smooth emulsion, whisking constantly - you can start to add it in a steady stream about half way through - when you've added all of this oil continue with the extra virgin oil, fold in the shredded leaves, crushing them as you go, then finally add the lemon juice and salt to taste.
Eat with most things... toast... fish... potatoes... eggs... etc

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