03/07/2012

Wild Elephant Garlic in Minorca (Allium ampeloprasum)

I haven't posted for over a week as I have been on holiday in Minorca(Menorca). How lucky am I?
 It was my first time in Minorca, but not in Spain. The island is beautiful, unspoilt and well organised. The locals are really friendly and the  climate while I was there was fantastic. Hot,dry and sunny during the day and fresh and breezy through the night. Sleeping was very easy.
Emilia Romagna (Italy) is too hot at the moment 38°, humid and sticky with  lots of tiger mosquitos.

 I visited lots of lovely beaches and was amazed by the wild plants and herbs growing all over the island.
I especially liked to see the wild elephant garlic growing along the coast. Apparently it grows all over Italy aswell, but I've never seen it here.
 I will definitely go back to Minorca, but  in Spring if possible.I'd like to go there on a walking holiday. The flora (and fauna) is  very interesting.



 This type of wild garlic is actually more closely related to the leek than garlic, it's sometimes called wild leek.
 Although the whole plant has a garlic aroma, the bulb which looks like ordinary garlic, has a very mild smell and taste. Elephant garlic has been described " as garlic for people who don't like garlic".



It was growing near all the beaches that I visited, along roads close to the coast and sometimes in gardens.



Here it's growing next to some dock and near some rock samphire.









The bulbs look just like garlic.
I brought two bulbs home with me and  this evening I made an "Alioli" type of sauce/mayonnaise.
Alioli is a Spanish sauce made with garlic, salt and olive oil and more recently  with egg yolks. It's easier to make with added egg yolks. Sometimes lemon juice or wine is added at the final stage.
I love alioli in Spain, but it's not for the faint-hearted.
A little goes a long way and is guaranteed to give you "garlic-breath".

Wild Elephant Alioli
(based on the original Catalan recipe)

2 bulbs wild elephant garlic
(or normal garlic or ramons)
1 tsp rock salt
Mild Extra Virgin Olive Oil (about half a cup)

Mix in a large pestle and mortar.
In Spain they have special ones for making alioli.I have one that my husband bought me in Barcelona.




Peel and slice the garlic

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Put the salt into the mortar and add the peeled and sliced garlic.Pound with the pestle into it becomes almost liquid.







Next add a  trickle of oil, mixing briskly with the pestle in circular movements. Keep adding oil and  mixing constantly in the same direction (don't change direction). If someone can help add the oil very slowly it's easier, but I managed on my own. The oil must be at room temperature. Keep adding the oil until the garlic doesn't absorb any more. It will gradually become thicker. My husband tried to make it with normal garlic a while ago, but it didn't happen. The trick is adding the oil gradually and mixing constantly. If it doesn't work you can always add an egg yolk or two and whisk.


The alioli should have a mayonnaise  like consistency and remain in the bowl if you turn it over. I didn't risk doing that, but it was pretty thick.

My alioli was very mild, but delicious with potatoes.
I won't have to worry about garlic-breath tomorrow.


It went down well with the whole family.
They  would have liked more.
I'm going to keep my eyes open for wild elephant garlic in Italy....








Wild Elephant Alioli on Punk  
Domestics

6 comments:

  1. your photos of the garlic in minorca are lovely..and what a great find..the alioli looks a lovely colour..you've inspired me to make some..i never have!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jane, if you do...let me know how you get on. It's easier than it seems.

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  2. Non conoscevo questo tipo di aglio, credo di non averlo mai visto dalle mie parti.
    Bella ricetta, me la conservo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neanche io. Secondo me i fiore sono stupendi!

      Delete
  3. Molto bella questa ricetta spagnola, mi piacerebbe conoscere altre ricette con le erbe di questa nazione

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your feedback. Comments are gladly accepted ;)