Hopefully you live not too far from a verdant wild garlic patch. There’s a sea of luscious young wild garlic in Cat Lane Woods at the moment. Great for a pesto, but this recipe (adapted from one by Nigel Slater) is another lovely way to eat them. For the brassica, we’ve used broccoli from the box but you could substitute any of its siblings/cousins such as kale, cavolo nero, shredded sprouts or green/savoy cabbage. If your frozen peas are very large you might want to partially cook in advance rather than just soak in boiling water. If peas don’t appeal, use cashew nuts. This is a dish of subtle and soothing flavours and textures. Can’t get enough of the rice, even on its own – the aromatic bay and spices are essential.
Aromatic rice, brassica, peas and wild garlic
- White basmati rice, 125g
- Cloves, 4
- Bay leaves (fresh), 2
- Green cardamom pods, lightly cracked, 6
- Whole black peppercorns, 8
- Broccoli/brassica, 200g
- Half a medium-large onion
- Green peas (frozen), 1 cup
- Wild garlic, 2 generous handfuls
- Sunflower oil, 2 tbsp
- Five-spice powder, 1 tsp
- Black mustard seeds, 1½ tsp
- Toasted sesame oil, 2 tsp (or more to taste)
- Soy sauce to taste
- Wash your wild garlic leaves twice and leave to drain in a colander. Put the frozen peas in a ceramic or glass bowl and cover with boiling water and keep aside.
- Put the basmati in a mixing bowl, cover with warm water, run your fingers through it until water becomes cloudy. Repeat twice, by which time water should be almost clear.
- Put the rice in a small lidded saucepan, pour in enough water to cover it by 3cm, then add the cloves, bay, cardamoms, whole peppercorns and half a teaspoon of salt.
- Bring to the boil, then cover tightly with a lid and lower the heat so the steam barely lifts the lid. Leave to cook for 10 mins, then take off heat and set aside without removing lid.
- Cut the broccoli into small pieces (bisecting florets so that they have at least one fairly flat surface). Thinly slice the half onion. Warm the sunflower oil in a shallow pan that doesn’t stick and add the broccoli and onion, frying until starting to get tender.
- Drain the green peas and add them to the frying pan, with the five-spice powder and mustard seeds and mix through, continuing to stir-fry.
- When the broccoli and peas have the tenderness you desire, add the wild garlic leaves (roughly torn up) and sesame oil and stir through until leaves are wilted. Turn off heat.
- Fluff the rice up with a fork, then fold the rice into the greens. Spoon the rice and greens onto plates. Trickle with soy sauce to taste.