Foraged wild garlic & smoked salmon carbonara

Carl Legge
Thursday, 14th April 2011

Wild garlic, smoked salmon, carbonara... A quick and easy seasonal recipe from our gourmet chef on 'The Dragon's Tail', the Llyn Peninsula in Wales

This recipe is a delight. It's stunningly simple to cook and moreishly gorgeous to eat. It will provide a quick supper for two or a fantastic dish for entertaining friends.

Wild garlic (Allium ursinum) is seasonal, of course. Out of season, you could use garlic chives or chives. Other members of the onion family would work too such as the green tops of baby leeks sliced finely.

I know. This isn't 'authentic' carbonara. I also know there's a cultural difference in the addition of cream to a carbonara. I'm a no cream person (mostly) and there's no cream in this recipe. I think you'll make it too heavy if you use cream and spoil the freshness of all the tastes.

I'm going to give you the ingredients on a per person basis. Just multiply up by the number you are cooking for. The quantities are given in ranges to suit your appetite or what's in the fridge. Obviously, if you're doing this as a starter you might want to adjust down the quantities.

Once the pasta is cooked and drained you'll need to move smartish to get the 'carbonara' into the pan and onto the pasta so it's warmed through without turning into scrambled egg. Be positive & confident and all will be well.

For those of you that like a challenge, or are pressed for time, the other ingredients can be prepared while the pasta cooks. I cook my spaghetti for 8 minutes. I'd say a delicious dinner on the table in under 10 minutes is tasty fast fresh food.

Ingredients (per person)

2/3 medium sized (10-15cm long) leaves of wild garlic finely shredded

50-75g smoked salmon, torn into bite-sized pieces (smoked tofu could be substituted for vegetarians)

30-50g parmesan or other hard cheese, finely grated

1 egg

Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

50-100g dried pasta

Wild garlic flowers to garnish, if available


Put your finely grated parmesan in a bowl. Break your egg(s) into this. Add some pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly so that your form a creamy 'paste' or sauce. Add the wild garlic and smoked salmon to this and fold through gently with a spatula. You'll use the spatula to get the sauce out quickly.

Cook your pasta in a large pan of salted water until al dente. Drain the pasta but leave some water in the pan. This will help cook your sauce with its heat & will help lubricate the 'sauce'. Return the pasta to the pan. Immediately tip in your sauce and mix in with the pasta so the pasta is coated and the sauce thickens slightly. Do a quick check of seasoning and adjust if necessary.

Serve immediately in bowls garnished with your wild garlic flowers if you have them.

Carl Legge lives on the Llyn Peninsula in Wales on a permaculture smallholding and writes a regular blog full of delicious recipes and more.