Muttabal is a Levantine dip traditionally made with aubergine, yoghurt, tahini, lemon and garlic. I teamed up with Basima's Kitchen (@Basimaskitchen) once again to revisit a staple dish from Southwest Asia using foraged ingredients. Instead of preparing muttabal with a raw garlic bulb, we opted for foraged garlic leaves, a seasonal wild food native to Asia and Europe.
About Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum)
Ramsons or wild garlic is a food forager's dream. It is an abundant wild food with a long season of around 5 months- so you can enjoy this versatile food throughout the peak of the foraging season.
Ramsons can be found in damp woodlands and shaded hedgerows. It's a leafy vegetable with a flavour of garlic, and delicious edible flowers. The most straightforward way of identifying this plant is by smelling its strong garlic aroma.
This wild food may also support the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and respiratory systems (Sobolewska et al., 2015).
I love how versatile wild garlic can be. Which is why we love to re-visit traditional recipes with this plant. I firmly believe everything tastes better when this wild food is involved.
You can incorporate ramsons in omelettes, pestos, soups, risottos, delicious dips, infused salts and butters, or even in fatayer, a traditional Levantine stuffed pie. You can also pickle the flower pods for a unique, sour-garlic ferment.
Wild Garlic and Sustainability
Given its culinary nature, wild garlic can be an over harvested plant. Unfortunately, not everyone keeps sustainability in mind when foraging wild food, especially restaurants, who like to incorporate wild garlic in their seasonal menus.
When harvesting wild garlic, cut the leaf from the stem, rather than pulling it out from the roots. That way you can assure it will come back every season. Don't harvest too much from one spot- instead, pick a few leaves here and there, and only take what you need!