Friday, February 6

Friday Food Files With Molly Watson: Green Garlic.

Here is what I love about living in California: Spring produce in February. Early February, even. The rains are here and it's gray and gloomy and yet...you know what you are likely to find at farmers markets and well-stocked produce departments in the Bay Area? Green garlic! Green garlic is the tender young plant of soft-necked garlic that, if left in peace, would grow into a garlic bulb to be harvest in summer and early fall, cured (dried) and kept to add kick and flavor to dishes all the year long. This time of year farmers start thinning the rows of garlic, making room for bulbs to grow, and those shoots they pull make their way to market. The bulbs get stronger and stronger as they're stored, and the delicate flavor of green garlic can be quite pleasing to those who find the pungency of mature garlic a bit much.

Green garlic looks like a slightly overgrown green onion or scallion, with a bit of purple towards the roots. You can use it like green onions - chopped in salads, added to stir-frys, or as a garnish on soups and stews - for a bit of a stronger, garlicky flavor.

Those of you in colder climates may find green garlic in fancy produce departments and, come spring, will see garlic scapes - the green shoots of hard-necked garlic grown in cooler areas that are removed by farmers - which you can use in pretty much the exact same way as green garlic. If you pick up a large bunch or two and want a green garlic-focused dish, try one of these recipes:

A simple, quick Green Garlic Omelet can make use of
pretty much any cheese you have hanging around the fridge,
but fresh goat cheese or a mild feta are particularly lovely.

Green Garlic Pesto - toss it with freshly cooked
pasta, spread it on pizza, or use as a dip.

Green Garlic Risotto has a delicate aroma and is
absolute perfection with a simple piece of broiled fish.

Green Garlic & Greens is a quick and
delicious way to get your vegetables.

And, for the adventurous, try making Green Garlic Gnocchi.
These are ricotta gnocchi and yet are very light and springy.
Coat them with just a bit of good-quality melted butter and perhaps
a bit of lemon zest (or even Meyer lemon, if you're feeling kicky).

***

Each week, the Friday Food Files are deliciously brought to you by Molly Watson. For more on Molly you can visit her in one of many wonderful places:
Writer: mollywatsonwrites.com
Blogger: thedinnerfiles.com
Recipe Wizard: localfoods.about.com
Radio Girl: eatthatradio.wordpress.com


*Top photo of spring green garlic courtesy of In Praise of Sardines.

6 comments:

Toshimi said...

The green garlic pesto looks delicious!

Carrie said...

These garlic recipes are all so luscious. I love cooking so much I often suspect I should move to California, where fresh food is probably at its finest, and most abundant. I think you just confirmed that for me.

edyta szyszlo photography said...

again, another reason why i miss my city so much :)
the gnocchi look amazing! will def. have to try making them.

drollgirl said...

oh! oh! oh! this all looks divine! thank you for the green garlic tips.

madichan said...

Green garlic season is my favorite! One of my favorite things to do with it is sauteed it with shrimp or scallops; a really great hybrid taste of mature garlic and green onions.

Kim said...

I am new to green garlic. I love green onions, so this will surely be a treat! Thanks!