Wild garlic mash, warm chickweed salad & seafood

Potato, parsnip and wild garlic pesto mash, wilted dressed chickweed & harissa seafood
This meal started off as one of those: “What do I do with these?” scenarios.

Debs had made a gorgeous parsnip, cinnamon and lemon cake with some of our over-wintered parsnips. It was delicious. I had one parsnip left that Debs had not been able to use.

And I had cleared a space in our big polytunnel for a new kiwi ‘Jenny’ and for our tarragon.  (How posh is that, to have a big and a little polytunnel?) The space for these had a huge clump of chickweed in it that we’d been harvesting for ages.

And, of course, it’s wild garlic time.

So I thought that the parsnip would make a really intense sweet/savoury mash with potatoes and wild garlic pesto. It did.

I gave the chickweed a good haircut. Then I just washed it, gave it a good shake and wilted a 2 litre pan full, covered and shaken for 2-3 minutes. I dressed it with my normal vinaigrette.

I brushed the seafood with a little harissa and griddled it on a very hot ridged griddle for about 4 minutes. I then turned the heat off and covered with a saucepan lid to leave it to cook in the residual heat and steam.

The whole recipe took less than 30 minutes to prepare and had a lovely contrast of colours, flavours and textures.

So the only thing for me to add is a recipe for wild garlic pesto. Read on…

Wild garlic pesto recipe

The quantities in this recipe are intentionally a bit ‘loose’. Have a play and taste as you go. If you have a food processor, you don’t need to faff about grating cheese and stuff. If not, grate the cheese and make up in a pestle & mortar.

I tend to use almonds or hazelnuts for this type of thing. You can use walnuts and other nuts and seeds too, see what you have and like. I’ve not used pine nuts for ages as they are so expensive for me to buy.

Once you’ve made the pesto it’ll keep for ages in a jar in the fridge. Just keep the surface covered with oil. You can also spoon it into ice-cube trays and freeze it. If you make it quite thick, you can make a roll in greaseproof paper and freeze that. Then all you have to do is to cut off a chunk.


A clove of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped (you can use more to taste)
A handful of nuts roughly chopped & lightly roasted in a dry frying pan
A palm sized piece of parmesan cheese or other hard cheese, roughly chopped into chunks
A handful of wild garlic leaves, washed if necessary, roughly chopped
Sea salt, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil or olive/sunflower/ rapeseed oil


Pop the garlic, nuts and cheese into your food processor. Blitz until you have a coarse consistency, scrape down and blitz again if you need to.

Add the wild garlic leaves and blitz again until you have a coarse paste.

Either in the processor or in another bowl gradually mix in enough oil to make your desired consistency. Season to taste with some salt.

If you wanted you could add some of the tomatoes you dehydrated last year to the mix on the first blitz.

Enjoy and let me know how you get on.

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12 responses to “Wild garlic mash, warm chickweed salad & seafood”

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  2. Dee Avatar

    That sounds mouthwateringly delicious Carl. Now to find some wild garlic… 🙂

  3. Sarah Avatar

    Will definitely try the wild garlic pesto, it’s growing everywhere in the woodland. Do you use the flowers in recipes?

    1. Carl Avatar

      Thanks for popping by Sarah, I’m sure that will go well for you. Lucky you to have such a close and abundant supply. Get in there and preserve it. We do use the flowers. Great in salads and also as fritters/tempura or as a garnish on dishes with the leaf in 🙂

      Let me know how it goes 🙂

  4. Isabel @ Fennel and Fern Avatar

    Another fabulously yummy recipe from you. Thanks so much for all the inspiration you are giving to people on the salad challenge!

    1. Carl Avatar

      Aww thanks Isabel, that’s very kind of you to say so. It’s a lot of fun and the Salad Challenge is giving some great inspiration and information 🙂

  5. Andrea Avatar

    Love garlic and it is my favorite of all crops to grow and enjoy. Your wild garlic mash sounds delish , thanks for sharing your pesto recipe, going to give this one a go!

    1. Carl Avatar

      Hi Andrea, my pleasure – thanks for popping by and leaving a comment. Let me know how it goes 🙂

  6. Green Dragonette Avatar

    I shall be off in the woods this weekend to see how the wild garlic is growing…fingers crossed there will be some to pick now!!

    1. Carl Avatar

      I will keep my fingers crossed for you, let me know how it goes 🙂

  7. Maureen Avatar

    Wild garlic pesto sounds SO good. I’m jealous of your two tunnels. 🙂

    1. Carl Avatar

      Haha, Maureen. How decadent is that? Do you get the wild garlic down under in the spring?