Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Salata de primavara cu leurda

“Spring salad with wild garlic”

Wild garlic, leurda in Romania, has been my discovery of the season. These spring leaves (those seen next to the plate in the photo on the left) are spear shaped and have a crisp, slightly garlicky flavour and make a great alternative to spinach or lettuce in a green salad. They are available from early spring and are currently starting to flower, which more or less signals the end of their culinary usefulness; the strength of flavour declining slightly after flowering. I have never seen them in the supermarkets, which is part of the reason why I haven’t tried them (knowingly) until now. They grow wild in many parts of Europe, including the UK, or you can buy them from fancy farmer’s markets for about £10 for a half-kilo (I bought a half-kilo today for the equivalent of £1 from a street vendor), but if you can grow them or forage them, all the better. Try to get the younger leaves if possible, but they are still pretty tasty soon after flowering.

This isn’t a particularly traditional Romanian salad because I made it up myself, but I think that it is a good representation of commonly-found local items at this time of the year.

Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 small side salads or one large lunch salad

1 large bunch of wild garlic leaves (leurda), about 150g say
4 spring onions
2 large radishes
1 slice (probably about 50g) of white cow’s cheese (telemea de vaca)
3 tablespoon of mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Trim the stalks off the wild garlic and rinse well. Roll together in a bunch and cut widthways into 1-1.5cm strips.
2. Slice the radishes into small ‘matchsticks’
3. Top and tail the spring onions and cut them into 3-4cm lengths, then cut these lengthways, and then again, to get long thin strips.
4. Cut the cheese into cubes.
5. Throw everything into a bowl, toss with the mayonnaise, check the seasoning, and serve.


Anonymous said...

What are the white flowers?

Romfoody said...

Hi Anon,

They are the flowers of the wild garlic plant, of which the leaves you can see also belong. The bunches I bought had a few flowering stems tied up with them so I plucked them out and stuck then in a jar.