Wild garlic and smoked salmon carbonara

This recipe is a delight. It’s stunningly quick & simple to cook and moreishly gorgeous to eat. It will provide a quick supper for two or a fantastic dish for entertaining friends.
Wild garlic and smoked salmon carbonaraThe wild garlic is seasonal, of course. Out of season, you could use garlic chives or chives. Other members of the onion family would work too such as the green tops of baby leeks sliced finely.

I know. This isn’t ‘authentic’ carbonara. I also know there’s a cultural difference in the addition of cream to a carbonara. I’m a no cream person (mostly) and there’s no cream in this recipe. I think you’ll make it too heavy if you use cream and spoil the freshness of all the tastes.

Fancy giving it a try? Read on…

Wild garlic & smoked salmon carbonara recipe

I’m going to give you the ingredients on a per person basis. Just multiply up by the number you are cooking for. The quantities are given in ranges to suit your appetite or what’s in the fridge. Obviously, if you’re doing this as a starter you might want to adjust down the quantities.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained you’ll need to move smartish to get the ‘carbonara’ into the pan and onto the pasta so it’s warmed through without turning into scrambled egg. Be positive & confident and all will be well.

For those of you that like a challenge, or are pressed for time, the other ingredients can be prepared while the pasta cooks. I cook my spaghetti for 8 minutes. I’d say a delicious dinner on the table in under 10 minutes is tasty fast fresh food.


2/3 medium sized (10-15cm long) leaves of wild garlic finely shredded

50-75g smoked salmon, torn into bite-sized pieces

30-50g parmesan or other hard cheese, finely grated

1 egg

Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

50-100g dried pasta

Wild garlic flowers to garnish, if available


Put your finely grated parmesan in a bowl. Break your egg(s) into this. Add some pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly so that you form a creamy ‘paste’ or sauce. Add the wild garlic & smoked salmon to this and fold through gently with a spatula. You’ll use the spatula to get the sauce out quickly.

Cook your pasta in a large pan of salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta but leave some water in the pan. This will help cook your sauce with its heat & will help lubricate the ‘sauce’. Return the pasta to the pan. Immediately tip in your sauce and mix in with the pasta so the pasta is coated and the sauce thickens slightly. Do a quick check of seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve immediately in bowls garnished with your wild garlic flowers if you have them.

Buon appettito!

And please have a look at my Sustainable Foraging Guidelines for tips how to forage responsibly. 


5 responses to “Wild garlic and smoked salmon carbonara”

  1. elizabethm Avatar

    Having just found my first ever wild garlic on our land today I pricked up my ears at this. Might need to hold back as two tiny spears are all I can see just now. From its reputation, it will take over the world quite soon.

  2. Carl Legge Avatar
    Carl Legge

    Bonjour Gregoire

    Yes it is the same. The latin name is Allium Ursinum.

    Haven't smoked my own salmon yet but will definitely be a project later in the year.

    I've smoked mackerel we caught locally here from a boat: delicious.

    Bon chance with the very worthwhile Kudat project.

    Jusqu'à tard


  3. Carl Legge Avatar
    Carl Legge

    Hi Ray

    Diolch yn fawr for popping by and for your kind words.

    Your blog is also a good read, so I'm going to add it to my blogroll.

    Stay in touch



  4. Gregoire Avatar

    Is wild garlic the same as we call "Ail des ours" in French? If yes, I'm a fan! Back home, in the Alps, it's a must-use plant once in season!

    Loving the spaghetti… do you smoke your own salmon? We do it here at the hotel, very yummy! 🙂

    PS: Thank you for your generous donation towards the kids of Kudat!

  5. Ray Avatar

    ah… wild garlic! I have just had my first taste of the year making a wild garlic pesto.

    i am enjoying reading your blog. I used to live in North wales… Llanfairfechan. The Llyn is a beautiful place to live. Pob Hwyl!