If you haven’t been given enough reason by now to be taking advantage of the quantity of gorgeous wild garlic currently on offer; let this sauce be one. It was actually the result of a boxful that I was trying to use up while at its best; if you whizz it up with heaps of oil, you’ll be able to prolong the joy for a further few days.
To pick something to make to go with it I nipped into my newly jazzed up pantry, which is now the walk-in cupboard of my dreams. I think at some stage in my youth having a walk-in wardrobe was actually the life goal, not a room floor to ceiling covered in shelves displaying dry ingredients. How things change. Then I saw the polenta staring at me, so here is some cheesy grilled polenta with that luscious wild garlic sauce.
Serves 4 (or 8 as a light starter as pictured)
For the polenta (makes 8 rectangles):
150g polenta bramata
1 tsp salt
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp dried flowers or herbs (I have some mixed dried fleurs aromatiques that I got in France, pictured below)
100g reblochon, sliced into 1 cm slices
Start by making the polenta. Place the water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and pour the polenta in a steady stream into the water. Whisk vigorously to avoid any lumps forming, turn it down to low and switch to a wooden spoon to stir for a good 15-20 minutes, until thickened and releasing some bubbles. In the meantime, grease a baking tray about 18 x 22 cm with half the oil. Add the thyme to the polenta and stir through. Pour the polenta into the baking tray, leave to cool a little then transfer to the fridge to set firm. In the meantime make the wild garlic sauce.
For the wild garlic sauce:
From the pantry:
5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
pinch sea salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or to taste)
1 tbsp capers, drained or rinsed if salted
pinch caster sugar
From the veg box:
80g wild garlic, plus a few extra leaves for the plates
200g English asparagus, ends snapped off
Whizz all the ingredients for the wild garlic sauce in a food processor or blender.
Preheat your grill to high. Remove the polenta from the fridge once fully firm and cut into 8 rectangles. Line a large baking tray with a good glug of oil, add the polenta slices. Place under the grill for 5 minutes, remove and flip over. Grill for a further 2 minutes, then take out of the oven, add a slice of reblochon to each one and grill for a further 2-3 minutes or until melted and starting to get a golden colour.
In the meantime, steam the asparagus for 1-2 minutes, or until tender but with a bit of bite. Refresh in iced water. Drizzle some sauce around the base of the plate, add a slice of cheesy polenta, some asparagus, a few extra wild garlic leaves (with flowers if possible), followed by another drizzle of the wild garlic sauce. Serve immediately!