We are so excited to be offering a spring delicacy that we have never before grown at Brickel Creek this year: green garlic! While I am certain that you are all familiar with the mature, cured version of this tasty treat, we hope that you will try its slightly less mature form! Green garlic features a milder flavor than mature garlic, and is certainly a spring flavor to look forward to every year.
What is green garlic?
Green garlic (also called young garlic or spring garlic) is simply garlic that hasn’t fully matured. Green garlic and garlic scapes are not the same thing. Green garlic is harvested young before bulbs develop or dry out, whereas garlic scapes are the flowering stalks of the mature hardneck garlic — an indicator that the garlic bulbs are ready to be harvested. Green garlic has a more mild flavor than mature, cured garlic, and the entire plant is edible!
Using green garlic
Green garlic features a milder, fresher, and sweeter taste than mature garlic; it has a spicier bite than scallions, but can be used in much the same way. Use it wherever you’d use regular bulb garlic or green onions, or use it in recipes specifically designed to highlight its unique mild garlic flavor. Add raw green garlic to salads, dressings, and sauces. Try it braised or grilled. Add it to a frittata, a soup, or pair it with other spring treats like asparagus. Put green garlic in pasta, a rice bowl or a confit
Storage and Prep
Green garlic should be stored in the refrigerator, where it will keep for 5-7 days. Wrap the green garlic in a damp paper towel and place it in a plastic bag; or for a non-plastic alternative, stick the green garlic in a tall glass with some water in the bottom. To prep, trim off the very bottom of the bulb and use all of the tender white and light green parts. Dark green leaves can be saved for stock, or used to add flavor to a soup (pop them in whole, like a bay leaf).
The cooking method described below preserves the green hue of the soup; if you prefer, you can skip the blanching and cooling steps and simply add the asparagus with the water and potato. I think fat asparagus stalks tend to be more meaty and creamy, and make the best soup, but any tasty, in-season asparagus will do. Feel free to garnish the soup with chives, chervil, tarragon or cilantro; see the post above for more ideas.
Makes 6 servings
2 pounds (about 2 bunches) asparagus
3 large stalks (4 ounces) green garlic
3 medium leeks (12 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 large yellow potato (6 ounces), peeled and diced
lemon juice, to taste
3/4 cup yogurt (whole or low-fat), or crème fraîche
zest of 1 small lemon (meyer or regular)
Fill a pot with 2 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Snap the woody ends of the stems off of the asparagus spears and discard; they will naturally break at the right spot. Keep the heads in tact and slice the stems. Blanche the asparagus in the simmering water for 1-2 minutes, until bright green and crisp-tender. Strain through a colander and into a large bowl, reserving the asparagus water. Rinse the asparagus under cool water to stop the cooking, and set aside.
Trim the root ends off of the green garlic and leeks. Slice the green garlic (leafy green parts included) crosswise into thin rounds, and place the rounds in a large bowl. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise, then slice the white and light green parts crosswise into 1/4″ thick half-moons. Place the sliced leeks in the bowl with the green garlic, fill with cool water, and separate the rings, swishing occasionally as they soak to release any sandy dirt, which will sink to the bottom. Scoop the leeks and garlic out of the water (you can repeat the soaking/scooping process if the leeks are super dirty), drain them in a colander and give them a final rinse.
Melt the butter and olive oil together in a soup pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the leeks and green garlic and saute until bright green and tender, 5-10 minutes. Add the salt, potato, and enough of the reserved asparagus cooking water to cover the vegetables, 4-6 cups. Bring to a boil, then cover the pot and simmer until the potato is very tender, 10 minutes.
Remove the lid and let the soup cool to warm, 30-60 minutes. (This is to preserve the color of the asparagus, but you can skip the cooling step if you prefer.)
Add the asparagus, reserving several pretty heads for garnish, and puree the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in a regular blender, thinning with more asparagus water as needed. Stir in the juice of half a lemon, taste for salt, adding more salt or lemon as you see fit.
Meanwhile, stir together the yogurt and lemon zest.
Re-warm the soup, and serve in bowls with a dollop of lemony yogurt and a couple of asparagus tips. The soup will keep in the fridge for up to three days.