This recipe comes from my brother Rory O'Connell. During the 5-6 weeks when wild garlic is in season, it is woven in and out of the menu at the School every day. There are two types of wild garlic: the wider-leafed Allium ursinum, which grows in shady places along the banks of streams and in undisturbed mossy woodland; and Allium triquetrum, with long thin leaves, which grows alongside roadsides and country lanes. The latter is also known as the three-cornered leek or snowbell because it resembles white bluebells.
Preheat the oven to 300°F and brush the inside of eight deep ovenproof cups or ramekins (approx. 3 oz) -- we use deep shot glasses -- with melted butter.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the cream and milk with the egg yolks and the finely grated cheese. Season with salt, freshly ground pepper, and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Whisk again. Add the wild garlic to the custard at the last minute and immediately pour into the cups or ramekins.
Fill a roasting pan with hot water and put in the cups; the water should come about two-thirds of the way up the sides. Cover the tops with a sheet of parchment paper. Depending on the depth of the cups, bake for 30-45 minutes in the preheated oven or until the mixture has just set. A skewer inserted into the center should come out clean when they are ready.
Serve decorated with some wild garlic flowers, if using, and a few fingers of plain toast or triangles of Melba toast.
From 30 Years at Ballymaloe by Darina Allen © 2014 Kyle Books.
Bonnie Benwick translates chef recipes for the home cook in the Washington Post's Plate Lab column. She tells Melissa Clark about some of the challenges you'll face when attempting a restaurant meal in your own kitchen.