Saturday, May 21, 2016

Pungent Pretty Things: Wild Garlic (Ramp) Hazlenut Pesto from "Garlic" by Jenny Linford

The Guardian recently ran a piece with which I wholeheartedly concur: "The Book is Back: Only the Technodazzled Thought They Would Go Away."  Ebook sales are on the way down, and people are discovering (or rediscovering) what I knew all along -- there is no replacement for the tactile pleasure of holding a real, solid, crispy-paged, yummy-smelling book in your hand.

Though I don't have the data to back it up, I think the over-saturation of food blogs -- combined with, let's face it, the many blogs of ... erm, dubious ... quality -- has probably helped boost hard copy cookbook sales as well. Even the most lush, gorgeous, recipe-tested blog or Web site can't (in my mind) hold a candle to the visceral pleasure of paging through a beautifully-photographed cookbook.

I was initially attracted to this cookbook (which I received for review from the publisher, though all views expressed here are, as always, my own) both because of the  topic -- garlic -- and the lovely cover. Eat with your eyes and all that.  I'm not sure if the trend of single-ingredient focused cookbooks is almost over or at its peak, and to be honest I don't really care. I love garlic and I'm always happy to discover more ways to use it in my cooking.

When it comes to reviewing a cookbook, if you're not going to test out every recipe beforehand (which I'm not!) it comes down to three main things for me: Is it pretty to look at? (I hate cookbooks that give me no sense of what anything should look like); Are these recipes something I'm excited to try? and finally, Does it look like I'll learn anything new here?

Garlic succeeds on the first two counts swimmingly; I'm not sure about the last one yet, but to be fair I am a bit garlic-obsessed and I have (happily and diligently) crammed my head with nerd-level food knowledge.

There really are a lot of recipes I'm eager to make from this book -- roast garlic salt cod croquettes, roast garlic tartiflette, beef ale stew with wild garlic dumplings, to name a few -- but for this post I decided to share with you the Wild Garlic (Ramp) and Hazelnut Pesto, as ramps are still in season in my neck of the woods and I really love them whether or not tiresome "foodies" think they're hot or not at the moment.

Also, as I generally never follow a recipe for pesto, I thought it might be a nice change of pace to actually measure things for once. The verdict? This really was beautifully balanced in flavor and gorgeous to look at. It's very garlicky, which I'm good with.. and you really can't accuse something of being too garlicky when it's in the Garlic cookbook after all.

Wild Garlic (Ramp) Hazlenut Pesto
from Garlic, by Jenny Linford
excerpted with permission by the publisher

I'm actually including the recipe page for you below, rather than writing it out. I thought it would give you a better sense of the look, feel, and tone of the book.

If you, like me, are a garlic fiend and love to gaze at some well-shot garlic porn, then I highly recommend it. Garlic is available wherever cookbooks are sold (duh). Or you can get one here. 

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