It is that time of year again and the familiar whiff of wild garlic is in the air. This feels like the beginning of a slew of seasonal goodies and I look forward to it every Spring. As soon as I picked a bunch of wild garlic yesterday I knew I wanted to make a focaccia with it and whizzing the leaves into the oil seemed the best way to get the herbaceous notes into the bread. I made the dough yesterday evening and let it rise overnight so I only had to knock it back and put it in the tin for a final rise this morning – couldn’t have been easier. You could of course make it all in one day but this suited me better for brunch on the beach with friends.
This makes a fabulous, squidgy loaf perfect for lunch or with a picnic as we had it today. I took it from the oven to the car and it was still warm when we ate it. Dip into oil and balsamic or use it to make a stella sandwich, stuffed with whichever goodies you like. We had ours cut into little squares which the children loved, a sort of herby garlic bread. My husband had his cut in half horizontally with a fried egg cooked on the fire on the beach, perfect.
For other ways to use your wild garlic check out the pesto (May 2013) which I wrote about last year or how about strewing some chopped leaves over a salami topped pizza….
Wild Garlic Focaccia
450g strong bread flour
7g table salt
250-300 ml luke warm water
50ml olive oil
Small bunch wild garlic, about 6-8 leaves
75ml olive oil
Mix the flour with the yeast, salt, water (start with 250 you might not need the full 300ml) and 50ml of oil and knead for 5 minutes. Leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours until doubled in size or put in the fridge overnight. Preheat the oven to 190, knock the air out of the dough and then press it into a shallow tin approximately 24x34cm. Cover loosely and leave to rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile whizz the garlic and 75ml of oil with a hand blender, or similar, until you get a fabulous green oil.
Press your fingers into the dough to make dimples and then pour the oil over to fill the little holes and cover the entire surface. Sprinkle generously with sea salt and bake for 25-35 minutes until golden. Check the bottom is brown, you can always give it another 5 minutes directly on the rack if necessary.