Sunday, 15 May 2011

A Beef Carpaccio & A Wild Brown Trout Sashimi with Wild Garlic Pesto & A Salad of Wild Garlic Flowers.

The wild garlic season starts in the winter and continues right through the spring. In the week before Easter my boyfriend Harry and I went for a week camping and fishing in Wales and in the woods surrounding our campsite on the river Usk near Abergavenny there was lots of wild garlic to be found. The weather was amazing and during our stay we had a barbeque of meats and Harry line caught trout accompanied with this beautiful wild herb most evenings.

 With a softer garlicky flavour the leaves can be cooked down with a little butter like spinach and eaten as a great side, or chopped into risottos or salads to add a delicate garlic flavour. The flowers however are quite fiery and add a beautiful kick to a salad.

I decided to take a handful of leaves and flowers home for Easter to make my offering of beef Carpaccio with wild garlic pesto as a little starter for the Saturday evening meal.
The pesto
Take a handful of wild garlic leaves and blend in a food processor with a good glug of light olive oil, ½ a teaspoon of salt, a squeeze of lemon juice, a small handful of walnuts and a pinch of sugar until you have a smooth paste.
I had never tried to make this pesto before and I have to say it didn’t add a great deal to the dish but it had an interesting flavour and the flowers in the salad made a very beautiful and tasty addition.
Beef Carpaccio
For the beef find the best piece of fillet steak you can get your hands on. Slice into thin rounds and place between two sheets of cling film. Using a rolling pin bash and roll the meat until it is wafer thin and removing from the cling film place carefully onto your serving plates and set aside.
While the beef is resting finely dice a shallot and cover with some boiling water. Allow the shallot to blanch in the water for 30 seconds or so before draining well in a sieve. Doing this will take the edge off the onion flavour and soften it a little whilst keeping the crunch.
When you are ready to eat sprinkle the shallot over the beef, drizzle with some good olive oil, a good squeeze of lemon juice and some salt & pepper. Place a handful of salad leaves, lightly dressed in vinaigrette in the centre of each plate and place the garlic flowers on top. Scatter around the pesto and serve.
Wild Brown Trout Sashimi
We had a pescatarian of sorts staying with us for the weekend so I made a fishy alternative for her. This dish also works well with salmon and rainbow trout (Wild, line caught brown trout is not easy to come by unless you have a fishing boyfriend or a posh supermarket on your doorstep) but make sure you know how fresh the fish is... more than 1 or 2 days old and I would not be trying this so buy from a fishmonger or at the fish counter in a supermarket.
 Finely slice the trout and place in a dish. Squeeze over a good amount of lime juice and salt and set aside for roughly 20 minutes. The acid in the lime will start to cook the fish. Lay the fish onto your serving plate and as with the beef scatter with the blanched shallots, some extra lime juice, salt, pepper and olive oil. Top with the salad and drizzle with the pesto.

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