The green garlic is here.
There are many signs of spring; many joys of spring.
Of them all, green garlic is the very best!
And I'm very happy.
A few years ago we took a day trip from Andorra into the Somontano wine region of Spain. We stopped at Enate and Vinas del Vero to pick up our summer rosados. After duly sampling and buying we continued on up into the Pyreneen foothills for lunch at a restaurant our friend had discovered the summer before.
It was a typical, hot, dusty, early May day in Huesca. As we arrived in the tiny village we roused lazy dogs sleeping in the middle of the road and disturbed the old men sipping wine under the shade tree in the Plaza Major.
As is typical of these small, mountain places there weren't any 'parking lots'; barely room for cars. We left ours out of the way and wandered up to the restaurant on foot, nodding greetings to people through the open doors of the houses.
We were early for lunch; it wasn't even 2:00pm and the restaurant wasn't open yet.
We were told we could wait in a little courtyard across the street. A few minutes later a bottle of the local white wine appeared, chilled, with a small plate of olives and ham, complements of the owner. We settled into the rhythm of the Spanish day.
About an hour later we were summoned into the restaurant: lunch was ready.
There was no menu to look at nor choices to be made. We sat and were served.
They brought another bottle of the chilled white to have with the first few courses, then a hearty red with the meat and cheese courses. Strong, hot coffee was served after dessert.
The tiny place was packed with about 20 people. No locals, of course. This place was far too expensive for them. Our lunch for three totaled almost $50.00 (including all the wine). The 5-course lunch was sublime, everything perfectly cooked, all seasonal, locally grown, fresh.
It was my first introduction to Green Garlic. He show-cased it in simple scrambled eggs.
Green garlic is immature garlic. It's harvested before the individual bulbs are formed and while the stalks are still tender. The entire stalk is edible, raw or cooked. The garlic flavor is mild and sweet. If you see it, don't hesitate, don't think, just grab it quickly.
It's season is fleeting, just a few weeks in the spring.
For me, the season is now.
Two years ago I found 1 bunch of 4 stalks…
This year I'm already on my 5th bunch, and I have hopes for more tomorrow.
Of course, I've had it in creamy scrambles eggs (with a bit of avocado garnish).
If you had a tiny bit of chilled butter to your eggs when you whisk them it melts just about the time you put them on your plate. (Just a hint.)
But, as long as we're celebrating spring…
Asparagus with Olive Oil and Green Garlic
8oz (250gr) asparagus, green, white or both
2 tbs olive oil
4 green garlic, including green tops
Snap off ends of asparagus. If your asparagus is very thick or it’s white use vegetable peeler and peel the bottom half of stalk. Put into a skillet big enough to hold them without cutting, add water to cover bottom of skillet by 1/4 inch, cover and bring to boil. Lower heat and cook just until done, 6 – 8 minutes, longer for white, adding a bit of water as needed. When done drain and put into a serving dish. Return the skillet to heat and the olive oil.
Trim the green garlic, slicing off the root and removing 1 layer. Slice as much as you can, including the green tops. Add to the olive oil. Sauté 30 seconds and add asparagus. Sauté until heated through, put back onto serving dish and serve – adding salt and pepper if desired.
In case your wondering how we managed to get out of the mountains of Huesca on those tiny back roads after all that wine… Mon mari was designated driver; J and I napped.
I originally told this story in April of 2007… I've had a tough week so decided to dip into the archives.