| May 10, 2007

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Feature Article - May 10, 2007

In search of the Wild Leek

by Jeff Green

Crow Lake-based Chef Ludwig Ratsinger was familiar with wild food from his birth country, Germany, so when he was settling in at the Oaks resort several years ago, he asked a neighbour if he knew anything about wild leeks.

The neighbour told Ludwig about a spot where wild leeks were plentiful, and he wasn’t kidding. In a secluded locale, next to a pond, Ludwig was shown a patch of wild leeks that spans several acres.

Even so, Ludwig does not harvest the garlic-like bulbs, which would kill the plant, preferring only to harvest the tender spring leaves of the plant during a short spring leek season.

The only bulbs he takes are being used to try and establish a patch near his home.

Injunction _served

Ludwig has taken some profit from the Wild Leeks, however, preparing recipes for inclusion in the latest edition of Food and Drink Magazine (available at LCBO stores).

Even with the short season, it is possible to enjoy Wild Leeks year round without digging up a single bulb, by preparing pesto and freezing it (see Ludwig’s recipe below)

Wild Leek PestoIngredients 1/2 cup whole almonds (or pine nuts) 2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano ( or Romano), coarsely grated (2/3 cup) 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon white pepper 3 cups loosely packed fresh wild leek leaves 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil Preparation: With food processor running, drop in almonds and finely chop. Stop motor and add cheese, salt, pepper, and wild leek, then process until finely chopped. With motor running, add oil, blending until incorporated. Freeze in ice cube trays (keeps up to a year) or store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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