Around this time of year, green garlic comes into season at Wickedfood Earth. Green garlic or spring garlic is the young version of the garlic, before it divides itself into separate cloves. There are a lot of things to love about green garlic:
- Green garlic can be used anywhere you’d use regular garlic, but it will impart a slightly less intense, slightly more verdant flavour to whatever you put it into. Use a little more green garlic than regular garlic in recipes.
- The whole plant is edible, from bulb, to stalk, to leaf, to scape. The higher on the stalk, the woodier it usually gets, once it gets to the point where it would be too tough to chew, cut it off and toss that portion.
Green garlic is simple to use. Chop off the roots and the top green ends, and use the whole bulb and the tender white and green parts of the stalk. It has an intensity of flavour. To remove some of the bite, briefly boil it before using it. Then slice it on the bias, cook it in butter or olive oil, and use it as a simple topping for pasta, or mix it into soups or salads as a garnish. Green garlic also makes a delicious aïoli.
Spinach and Green Garlic Soup
This is one of Wickedfood Earth‘s favourite spring recipes. Green garlic might be a bit more pungent, but it’s flavour should mellow nicely with cooking. If you can’t find green garlic, use regular garlic, much less, though – and some chopped leek.
2T olive oil
1 head green garlic, peeled of outer skin and thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
1L vegetable or mild chicken broth
±300g baby spinach leaves, green part only, washed and shredded
1T crème fraîche or thick cream
- Warm the olive oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the green garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is soft and translucent. As the garlic cooks, the scent changes from raw and sharp to sweeter and more mellow, what you’re after.
- Add the stock and bring it to a boil. Simmer gently, for ±15 minutes.
- Add the spinach, and immediately turn off the stove. Let it sit for 5 minutes (too long, and the spinach will lose its colour)
- Working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender.
- Return the soup to the pot, and place it over low heat to rewarm gently. Adjust seasoning as necessary.
- Serve warm or hot, with a drizzle of olive oil, a dollop of crème fraîche or cream.
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