I've mentioned a few times the trips I've made to the salon de saveurs that takes place each spring and autumn in Paris. I invariably find a few interesting ingredients that sit at the back of the refrigerator or cupboard, waiting for me to be in desperate need of inspiration. Just before our holidays, I hosted a couple of barbecues on the terrace and so I was in desperate need of something quick and easy. I hit on the idea of using some of the Ramsons sauce I had purchased at the salon in a potato salad. Ramsons is also known as wood garlic or bear garlic. As you can see in the photo, the jar I bought was from Germany and so labelled "bärlauch", or "bear leek". I like that. I can just about see a brown bear delicately balancing a frond of bear garlic on his portion of freshly caught salmon before popping it in his big mouth. Before buying the jar, I tried a sample of it on a crouton. The vendors explained that they first toasted the bread and then sprinkled it with a little white wine and tossed it in a hot frying pan before cooling and spreading it with the sauce. (This sauce, by the way, seems to consist mainly of chopped bear garlic and vegetable oil with a couple of stabilisers thrown in for good measure.) The sauce is deep green and looks a bit like a very soupy pesto sauce. And the taste? Garlicky of course but with a herbal aftertaste. It's less sharp than fresh garlic, but somehow not as mellow as cooked garlic. It was extremely tasty and so I bought a jar.
For the potato salad, I decided to follow the example of the vendors and use a little white wine. It's really not a recipe: take a kilo of new potatoes and boil them until tender. You can cut the big ones in half if you like so they are all done at the same time. Toss them with three generous tablespoons of wild garlic sauce and a half glass of wine. Taste for salt and pepper - I added a generous amount of the latter.
I had toyed with the idea of using a vinegar with the bear garlic sauce, but decided it would clash with the flavour. The white wine really did add a nice crisp touch without overpowering the herb.