I love bargains. I love free stuff even more. Which is why I was rather pleased to find that this green grows, literally, everywhere. In great profusion. It wouldn’t be a proper bargain unless it was also good though, a bargain that sucks isn’t a bargain, it’s just cheap crap.
Yes, cheap crap. It sucks. How do you like that language that after several of my rather more high falutin’ posts? It’s true what they say, everything will out eventually and that includes my potty mouth and delight in toilet talk.
Anyway, bärlauch (bear leek) as it is called in German is a garlicky smelling (but oddly not particularly strong tasting) soft leaf that can be eaten raw – and cooked too though I’ve never done it. It’s an allium, like garlic and onions, and a close cousin of the beloved ramp.
A quick Google search reveals that bärlauch graces not only many a salad (below I give a recipe for potato salad but have had it in green too) but is mixed into spätzle, pestos, stuffed into ravioli and chopped into soups. In English, it’s called wild garlic and is sometimes confused with herbstzeitlosen, an altogether more unpleasant thing which can kill you if you’re not careful. The way to tell the difference is that the former has no flowers while the latter has small pinky purple flowers with a yellow centre.
I made this potato salad when our friend Gerda was moving house – moving after 30 years of living in a place is probably stressful enough without having to think of what to feed your minions so I volunteered to make lunch and we sat on her delightful new verandah and felt rather thrifty as we tucked in, I can tell you.
I’m afraid though, I was remiss and completely forgot to photograph it, you’ll have to use your imagination.
Do you have a potty mouth or do you keep it clean?
Bärlauch Potato Salad
If you don’t have bärlauch, up the quantities of other herbs, you’ll want piles of them for this to work, the herbs mix with the hot sour cream to make a sort of green herby sauce. You could use a bit of baby spinach to good effect I would think. If you have some, I think Chinese chives, a.k.a nira would also work well but they are far more garlicky and probably need blanching, so beware. I suppose this would serve about 4 as a side dish.
6 or 7 medium sized potatoes, scrubbed and cut into chunks of however big you prefer in a potato salad
150 grams sour cream
2 spring onions; all the white and a bit of the green part, finely sliced
Handful of parsley, minced
Handful of bärlauch, minced
Put the potatoes in a pot with enough cold water to just cover and add a decent slug of salt. I’m talking more than a teaspoon, potatoes absorb salt like no-one’s business.
Bring to the boil on high, lower heat and simmer until a knife passes easily through a piece of the potato.
Drain well and toss the hot potatoes in the sour cream, add plenty of pepper, and salt if it needs it, and toss three quarters of the herbs through. Top with the remaining herbs and serve.
This could be improved with the additions of various things like chopped hard boiled eggs, finely diced gherkins, red onions or even canned tuna if you wanted more of a meal but I like the plain prettiness of the green against white.