Wild Aglio E Olio
Living on the road has its many obvious perks. Definitely. No schedules, less pressure to work at specific times, a new backyard most days and less 'stuff' to clutter your house/mind/day. But the perk I dig the most (pun intented) is the free food. In Terqué, near Granada we got so many oranges from the trees on the side of the road, even from a carpark we put the van in one day, that we traveled with a huge sack for weeks after. In Alte, we picked lemons and mandarins from the heavy laiden trees awaiting harvest whilst riding bikes around the stunning Algarve in Southern Portugal. And what really makes me excited and happy like a little child who loved to play in the dirt with the dandelions and the daisies as a kid on a farm, is the wild food. Nasturtiums, wisteria, asparagus, chicory, dandelion greens...all a fringe benefit of a walk in the forest or along the quiet roads of a small village. I find endless inspiration in nature for many things but cooking up something you find on a walk is pretty special and very close to my heart.
Last week in Vila Nova De Cerveira, Portugal on the banks of the Miño river we came across a small patch of three cornered garlic, also known as angled onion, or onion weed or Allium triquetrum to be more precise. The entire plant is edible from root to flower and has a subtle leek or onion flavour, lending itself well to pestos, soups or simply sautéed to release the aromas and soften the stems. I decided it would be a great mix with some fermented garlic we have been traveling with, from our favourite shop for all things fermented in Barcelona.
This dish comes together in 15 minutes (minus pasta cooking time) so works well for a quick meal, comfort food on lazy days and it's great for traveling kitchens, whether it be a camper or motorhome (like ours) or a camping situation, which also increases your chances of foraging the ingredients! I use brown rice penne which is a silky but sturdy pasta for a gluten free diet, but you can use spaghetti, which is traditionally the fodder for Aglio e Olio (Garlic and Oil).
Wild Aglio e Olio
- 3-4 cloves @Ferment9 fermented garlic, or fresh garlic
- handful wild angled onion, or use spring onion or garlic ramps if you are city bound. Remove flowers for garnish and chop stems and leave finely.
- Olive oil
- Maldon sea salt
- dried chilli flakes (to taste)
- 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 250gm brown rice penne, boiled until al dente, rinsed and set aside in a large saucepan (and reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid!)
- ground pepper
Warm some olive oil in a large frypan.
Fry the angled onion/spring onions/ramps until tender (2-3 mins) then add grated garlic cloves and pinch of salt. Fry a further 30 seconds or so.
Add cooking liquid, chili and simmer to reduce by a third.
Pour liquid into cooked pasta, add nutritional yeast and a drizzle of olive oil, warm over a low heat until liquid is absorbed, about 1minute. If it looks dry, add more olive oil and serve immediately.
Garnish with edible three cornered garlic flowers, chives, watercress, parsley or more chili! Enjoy with white wine and even a little salad for the perfect Spring-inspired weekday dinner, that's ready in no time at all.