Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wild Garlic and Broccoli Dip

Spring began this week. I noticed this at the market because the wild garlic had arrived. I also noticed that in a small supermarket where I and my colleagues sometimes buy soup for lunch a new spring selection included wild garlic soup.

Wild garlic is also known as ramsons but as I understand not many people know what ramsons is (are?). Let´s stick to wild garlic in English then. In Estonian as well as in German this green garlicky leaf is linked to bears and is called "karulauk" (Est.) and "Bärlauch" (Ger). In fact the question is why in English it is not relating to bears? The Latin name of wild garlic is "Allium ursinum" where "allium" is leek and "ursus" is a bear. In Finnish it is called "karhunlaukka", in Lithuanian it is "meškinis česnakas", in Polish "Czosnek niedźwiedzi ", all include a mention of a bear.

In Danish it is "ramsløg", in Swedish "ramslök", in Norwegian "ramslauk", all have a similar word root of "rams" as is found in the English ramsons.

So here is my personal etymological theory, the vikings from Scandinavia knew wild garlic and while they were ravaging on the island now known as Brittain around the 8-10th century somehow perhaps seasoned the game they caught with ramsons that they knew from back home.

In many other countries on the European continent the etymological linkage must have spread from German, Latin or Slavic languages where this forest herb is mentioned in relation to bears who after waking from the winter sleep are looking for the wild garlic bulbs in the forest. And bears in these countries are common forest inhabitants.

Enough of etymology, now back to food...

Wild Garlic and Broccoli Dip

1 broccoli head
a small bunch of wild garlic (ca. 20 leaves)
3 tbsp crème fraîche
1-2 tbsp lemon juice

Ciabatta or sliced bread, toasted
Extra virgin olive oil

Cut the broccoli into smaller pieces and steam for 5-10 minutes until soft. I recommend steaming to boiling to avoid that broccoli becomes too watery. Let it cool down or quickly cool it by dipping it into ice water and pat dry.
Place the broccoli, wild garlic, crème fraîche, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a food processor and crush the ingredients into a smooth spread like paste.
Taste and season as you and your fellow eaters please.

Instead of broccoli kohlrabi or cauliflower can be used as well.

Serve it with toasted slices of ciabatta or any bread.
Sprinkle a little olive oil on the bread and either spred the dip on the bread or just dip pieces of bread into the dip.