Thursday 10 May 2007


I was staying with my parents at the weekend enjoying a few days of doing very little. Unfortunately, the near constant glorious weather they've been having decided to do a runner just in time for my arrival but I guess being able to relax and sit in the sun was just too much to hope for. While I was away Chris phoned to say that, following our success with wild garlic last week, his friend and workmate Scott had announced that he knows a great spot for picking these pungent leaves and had presented him with a huge bagful for our enjoyment. After waking up at the crack of dawn on Tuesday morning to get my flight back to Edinburgh I wasn't much in the mood for cooking so yesterday was the first opportunity to make a dent in our bounty.

Following a good root about online I found Gastronomy Domine and a recipe for chicken wrapped in wild garlic and pancetta. I planned on just making a slight variation on this with some salad and new potatoes but then started wondering whether there was scope to make some kind of salsa verde or other accompaniment for the potatoes using the wild garlic. After more rummaging around I fell upon a recipe for sauce verte in 'How to Eat'. As far as I can tell this is just supposed to be a slightly mustardy mayonnaise with added herbs but Nigella suggests adding capers and cornichons to make it more akin to a mayonnaise bound salsa verde. I used caperberries as we had no capers and (putting my hands up to a mayonnaise crime) I used Hellman's as we always have it in the fridge. The chicken stayed tender and juicy inside and the combination of crisp bacon, garlic leaves and chicken was definitely one to be repeated and adapted for the many non wild garlic months. The sauce was sharp from the caperberries and cornichons and a great thing to quickly whip up as an alternative to plain mayo or salsa verde. I think that flat leaf parsley may stand up a little better than the wild garlic to being paired with such strong flavours but it still worked well, so give it a go and see what you think.

serves 2

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
about 8 large wild garlic leaves
6 rashers of bacon
a little olive oil
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200° C. Lay out the rashers of bacon in two sets so that three rashers are snugly nestled up to each other. Top each set with four wild garlic leaves and a chicken breast. Season with black pepper and tuck the ends of the bacon around the chicken. Place the chicken into an oven dish presentation side up. Drizzle a little olive oil over the ends where the chicken breast is peeking through so these don't dry out. Cook for 30 minutes, turning halfway so that the bacon becomes crispy all round. Serve with the sauce verte, new potatoes, and a green salad.

serves 2

3 tbsp of finely chopped wild garlic leaves
2 tsp of finely chopped cornichons
2 tsp of finely chopped caperberries
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp of dijon mustard
enough mayonnaise to mix all of the ingredients into a thick sauce
a little extra virgin olive oil to slacken the mixture, just add it slowly until it is at the right consistency for you

Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl adjusting the seasoning and quantities of mayonnaise and oil as required.

Now I just have to work out how to use the remaining 50 leaves...


Kelly-Jane said...

Hope you are all refreshed after your break :)

They both sound and look great. I'm really taken with the wild garlic sauce verte.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful photo. I love that recipe...sounds fantastic!
Enjoy your stay.

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

We have wild garlic growing near us I've said I'd like get some (when it's dark) to transplant into our garden. Your recipe sounds amazing..

Gemma said...

Kelly - thanks, I was relaxed but after a few days at work just tired again, oh well!

Kristen - thank so much.

little foodie - I think it goes a bit mad when it's planted so maybe put it somewhere where it can't take over the whole garden!

Gemma x

Brilynn said...

Everything should be wrapped in bacon!

Gemma said...

I couldn't agree more Brilynn!