I’m sure if you did a quick internet search you would come up with several articles, blog posts, etc about why people love green garlic and all the health benefits it contains. But today I’m going to tell you why I love green garlic and how I came to do so.
Green Garlic is basically young garlic which has been plucked from the ground before it has split into cloves. Green garlic contains all the health benefits of regular garlic with the added benefit that you can eat it raw without burning off your taste buds! It is sadly available only for a fleeting moment in spring when it breaks the earth with its fragrant green tops and gives us the privelege of tasting its beauty. I know I sound melodramatic, but let me tell you if you’ve never had green garlic before- you too will spout your love from the roof tops when you do. Those of you who have, I know you understand. 😉
How we met:
I still remember the day clearly. It was last spring- I had invited a friend over for drinks and a bite on a Friday evening. She went with me to the Farmer’s Market to pick up my CSA box at the farm’s stall. I don’t remember what else came in my box, most likely carrots, lettuce, an herb or two. What I do remember was seeing a leek-like, scallion looking thing in my box. I thought it was a very large green onion and wondered that I had only received one. I knew it wasn’t a leek because the stalk was too tender. Suffice to say that I from the contents of my box and pantry/fridge I decided I would make a fried rice to enjoy with a beer in front of the television with my friend.
I prepared my fried rice the way I normally do- carrots, peas, mushrooms, protein of some kind, steamed white rice, sesame oil, soy sauce, and a very large handful of sliced scallions stirred in right before serving. I served my friend and myself and sat down to enjoy our repast. I knew the second I took my first bite that I had added something different to that dish. I looked up at my friend and she said “This is delicious! It is honestly the best fried rice-ever!” I felt the same way and I knew it had to be my “scallion” that didn’t taste anything like a scallion. It was kind of garlicky and buttery all at the same time. It had the bright flavor that scallions would have added to the dish, but with a very faint bite of garlic. When we were done eating I went to look for the contents list that usually comes with my box, and there it was- green garlic! I was hooked. I looked for it at the market and was only able to get it one more time. I dreamed about it from last spring to the present and was overjoyed to finally see it on the list of upcoming veggie box occupants. I’ve been sending my husband to the farm stand with explicit instructions to purchase more green garlic if it’s available. There wasn’t any at the farm stand today. I’m down to my last two stalks. It makes me sad to think about it. So, in an effort to conserve my green garlic a little longer I made a pesto with it today. I still had plenty of dill and incorporated a good amount of it into this pesto. The flavors were amazing. It was everything I wanted it to be. I’m going to slather it on everything this week. Seriously, everything. I might even turn my last green garlic into another batch I can freeze for later (if it makes it to later). I must admit that when I transferred it to a bowl after it was done, I took a heel of bread and cleaned the inside of my food processor with it. It was that good. I’ll let you be the judge. But please, please, seek out this beauty at your local farmers market before it disappears until next spring and then you too will be left with nothing but a fleeting memory, wondering if it was all just a dream.
I set aside some of the pesto before adding the cheese to brush onto some chicken thighs before grilling. I meant to add arugula to the pasta to wilt in with the pesto, but completely forgot in my anticipation to eat the pesto! I also made a simple roasted sugar plum tomato bruschetta to which I stirred in a spoonful of the pesto when it was done. I’ll include directions for that at the bottom. The sugarplum tomatoes I used are organic and were purchased from Trader Joe’s. They were a product of Mexico. I try not to purchase tomatoes out of season, but I couldn’t pass up these cuties on my last trip. I miss tomato season.
Green Garlic and Dill Pesto
1 whole green garlic, sliced in half lengthwise and rinsed between layers to get all the dirt out.
1/4 cup of chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup of lightly toasted pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
A handful of shaved/shredded parmesan cheese
olive oil- enough to make make a thick sauce (I didn’t measure, I just poured in while the blades on the food processor were running, but if I had to guesstimate, I’d say 1/4-1/3cup?)
Toast the pinenuts over medium heat in a dry skillet. Place into food processor. Chop the washed green garlic and also place into food processor along with dill, salt and pepper. Pulse until ingredients begin to come together, then with the food processor running, stream in olive oil a bit at a time, until mixture loosens and moves about easily. Add parmesan and pulse again to combine. Taste the pesto for seasoning. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary. If pesto is too thick, add a bit more oil and pulse again. Pour. Over. Anything. Eat and be happy.
Roasted Sugarplum Tomato Bruschetta
1 16 oz container of sugar plum tomatoes
2 Tablespoons minced green garlic, or substitute 2-3 cloves regular garlic, finely minced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil for drizzling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
Halve all tomatoes and place into earthenware or other roasting dish along with garlic. Spray/drizzle generously with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes depending on your oven. Keep an eye on them, you may need to stir once or twice to prevent scorching around the edges. I stirred in a heaping spoonful of my green garlic pesto to the tomatoes once they were done. Do a taste check and adjust salt if necessary. Serve over toasted bread slices or pour over the pasta along with the pesto.