In this latest Chef’s Table feature, Garry Watson of Gordon’s Restaurant, outlines why wild produce, more specifically, wild garlic, is a chef’s delight.
We are spoilt for wild produce growing around Courier country and right now from early April to early June is season to one of my favourite foraged ingredients is wild garlic. It tends to grow in great big areas across anywhere damp.
My Dad, Gordon, got me into foraging, but its also easy to cultivate by replanting the roots and I now grow it in my restaurant kitchen garden. I use it raw in salads, wilted in butter with fish, or when the white flowers come through later they can be run through plain bread dough to give it an amazing light garlic flavour.
Because its so good in season, you don’t want to try and force it when its gone. The wild garlic season is an exciting time for a chef because you know that after the constraints of winter you’ll soon get an abundance of fresh ingredients like asparagus and samphire.
My Restaurant is well known for its ‘velouté’ course (a light, fresh soup finished with cream for velvety richness and wild garlic is fantastic for this – Boil 600ml of chicken stock and reduce to 300ml (use good quality, home-made stock for best results).
Add 125g of wild garlic along with 50g of picked and washed spinach and simmer for a few minutes to cook out the raw garlic flavour, however don’t over cook or you will lose that vivid stunning bright green colour from the finished velouté.
Add 50ml of double cream and 20g of butter then blend while still hot in a liquidiser (take care and place a kitchen cloth on top top of lid before blending) strain through fine sieve and correct seasoning with salt and perhaps a squeeze of lemon juice. You can take it a stage further by placing a soft poached egg in the centre and even adding some flaked Arbroath Smokie.
Arbroath Smokie is another one of my favourite ingredients and its always a delight to collect from one of the many amazing fish shops in Arbroath where you can see and smell whole cured haddock tied in pairs smoked over smoking pits daily. The best way to approach them is to open the fish like a book and peel chunks of flesh off the skin and off the bone. Take care as some small bones cling to the flakes.
For more in this series…