Strips of smoked haddock wrapped in Cleavers, deep fried in chickpea batter and served with a creamy gherkin and wild garlic dip.
Cleavers ( Galium aparine) are looking great at the moment and they are just at the stage when they are long enough to wrap things but have not yet become too stringy. They are staple for us at this time of year and an easy plant for budding foragers to identify on our One day foraging courses.
Rose was experimenting with using them last week and it was a lovely surprise to have this recipe for my dinner as the result of her research. These could be eaten as part of a bigger meal or would make wonderful tapas as part of a spread of small plates.
By all means try out your own favourite fish in this recipe but the smoked flavour worked really well.
The sauce uses wild garlic puree which is made by blitzing up wild garlic leaves with a little olive oil. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 month. For id notes on Wild Garlic see previous post here.
Cleavers Galium aparine
One of the first plants to emerge in spring. This annual plant has a distinctive growth pattern where rings of narrow slightly bristly leaves are borne at regular intervals along the slightly bristly stem. The leaves are up to 3cm long. Cleavers will generally climb up the plants near it, managing to grow through hedges up to 1.5m. The tiny greenish white flowers open in summer to be followed little hard ball seeds that stick to your socks.
Cleavers has tiny downward facing prickles on the stems which makes them seem sticky.
Goosegrass goujons with wild garlic tartar sauce.
300g Smoked Haddock fillet
100g Chickpea flour
Half a teaspoon of salt
1 handful of Cleavers stems
For the sauce
2 tsp Wild Garlic puree (see above)
2 tblsp Mayonaise
5 Cornichon gherkins, finely chopped
2 tsp Capers, finely chopped
Slice the fish into strips about 2 cm wide across the fillet. Wrap each strip in a couple of Cleavers stems as in the photo below.
Set these wrapped strips aside whilst you make the batter and sauce.
For the batter put the flour and salt into a bowl and stir in approximately 75ml of water, adjusting this to make a batter the consistency of thick cream.
For the sauce just mix all ingredients together in a bowl until you have and even green colour.
To cook your goujons, dip each little parcel into your batter and then deep fry at 180 degrees C until golden brown. Drain on kitchen roll and serve with your tartar sauce.