Wild rocket, wild strawberries, wild mushrooms, wild boar; chances are you've eaten "wild" food. But, I often ask myself, why all this wild-ness in a product destined for the supermarket shelf, forever to be next-door-neighbours with its domesticated/cultivated cousin? It's like Brie Vandecamp and the Sasquatch sharing adjacent semis.
I'm glad, personally, that such ingredients are so readily available but, given the option, shouldn't wild food be...well..wild? In Pompeii, about 4 years ago, I spotted a hoarde of ancient Italian women harvesting an unknown crop which was sprouting from the side of an equally ancient ampitheatre to eat with their packed-lunch ciabatta. It turned out to be wild rocket. The taste was like nothing I've ever had from a supermarket (or farmers market, for that matter!) and I was amazed that something so strong tasting could grow, unaided, from between two 2,000 year old bricks.
A British equivalent, which is currently screaming to be picked, is wild garlic or "Ramson". It's in just about every woodland at the moment and, by summer, it will be responsible for a blanket of white flowers almost nationwide. If you fancy a forage, stick to the leaves. The bulb is tough and VERY strong flavoured, plus we want some to grow back next year. Finely chop 2-3 leaves and sprinkle over sliced, olive oil-drenched ciabatta along with some sea salt and black pepper. Grill for a few minutes for a garlic bread like no other. Chopped ramson adds a unique taste to an onion soup recipe when added at the same time as the onions, or, simply add it to a tomato sauce recipe in the place of crushed garlic. I add a handfull to a scone recipe along with some grated parmesan. Minus the sugar, add some salt and you have my favourite cobler dough for atop a root veg stew.