By Dana Zia, The Golightly Gourmet
“Until recently, green garlic never appeared in the market and was largely unrecognized by cooks.” Alice Waters
Things are beginning to look up; I reek like garlic. It all started this morning when I was in my garden and decided to thin my baby garlic that are coming. I always plant way more garlic than could mature in the same space as I simply love tender green garlic that is so awakening this time of year. It’s like a splash of fresh water in the face after a long winter’s nap.
Green garlic is the baby garlic plants that are just starting to grow but haven’t formed a bulb yet. Green garlic has the sleek seductive look of a spring onion and has a springy, mellow garlic flavor. It is all the rage in the gourmet world. Any dish will simply sing with green garlic chopped up and added to it. They are amazing chopped up in stir fries, salads, steamed, roasted or in anything you would add a fresh light garlic flavor to. (Imagine green onions that taste like garlic.) Green garlic pesto is one of the dishes that really shines and is very popular in the farm to table restaurants.
There is another fun form of garlic that will be abundant in June and that is the garlic plants bud. These are called “scapes”. They are tender and delicious if you pluck them off when they first begin to shoot up. It is also extremely important to remove the scape if you want the garlic to put all its energy into the blub, opposed to the flower. Which, we most definitely do!
Green garlic and garlic scapes can be used interchangeably with each other and they have all the same stellar nutritional benefits of mature garlic cloves. Garlic has been known to keep everything from the common old to vampires at bay.
The only bad thing about all this it is hard to find garlic scapes and green garlic, unless you have a farmer’s market or a garlic patch close by. Keep your eyes open at produce stands and at inventive produce sections at your grocer for them. When the Tillamook farmer’s market opens on June 16th, and the Manzanita Farmer’s market opens June 8th, there should be more available there. Do yourselves a favor and experiment with the other scrumptious parts of the garlic plant that usually go unheralded. But don’t tarry the season is fleeting.
Editor’s Note: Tillamook Safeway had garlic scapes during the season. I took this photo because I was so excited to see them at a “regular” grocery store. And Dana is absolutely right! One of the best discoveries ever at the Farmers Market – garlic scapes. Yum!
Tonight I made both garlic scape pesto and slathered it on zoodles (which are zucchini’s turned into noodles with a magic device called a spiralizer). You can also put it on pasta, make lasagna with it and so much more! So, now you see why I reek of garlic? Yup, everything is beginning to look up. Maybe the sun will come out now.
Green Garlic Pesto
Great on pasta and anywhere else you would use pesto.
2 cups of green garlic or garlic scapes, chopped into 2-inch pieces
1/4 cup walnuts roughly chopped (or any kind of nut)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup warm water
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil*
Drop the green garlic through the food chute with food processor on; process until minced. Place next 4 ingredients (nuts through pepper) in processor; process till everything is well mixed and fragrant. Combine water and oil in a measuring cup. (oil and water do mix sometimes!) With the food processor on, slowly pour oil mixture through food chute, processing just until blended. Taste and adjust seasonings. *If using on pasta, add more oil until the desired consistency is reached. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Put on everything you can think of, except maybe blueberry muffins.