Thursday, May 6, 2010

In-season recipes: Spring Garlic

One thing I've noticed in the past year is how much of a disconnect a lot of people have with WHEN and WHERE their food comes from. This is not a criticism, it just shows how much things have changed. We have most foods available 365 days a year, so in the supermarket aisle, there are no seasons. Sure, the price may dip, but that could mean that tomatoes are in-season an abundance of tomatoes in Ecuador.

As I try to live more healthily, try more recipes, and eat things more locally, I've found that I've fallen into also eating things more in-season. Sure, I may chop up a few out-of-country items to go with those in-season vegetables, but hopefully that will change as I start putting some food away this summer.

And if I'm cooking those recipes, I thought I'd share. I expect there to be several failures, but hopefully a few successes. Like last night: Success. Oh my gosh, success.

Up to bat last night: Spring Garlic.Spring garlic is also known as baby garlic or green garlic. It's a true garlic plant, but it has not yet developed a bulb. It still smells and tastes like garlic, but it's much more mild a taste that pungent bulb garlic. This garlic was obtained last Saturday at the infamous Saturday Market. On a whim, I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did.

Once I had the garlic, I had to figure out what the hey to make. I decided upon two dishes.

The first one was a fabulous success that makes me so giddy about anticipating serving this at summertime gettogethers that I could cry: Bruschetta.

I got the recipe from East Village Kitchen. It is incredibly simple.

4-5 tomatoes on the vine

1 bulb spring garlic, chopped finely

1 large handful of fresh basil, chopped

1 tablespoon olive oil

sea salt or kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper

1/2 loaf baguette, cut into 3/4 inch thick rounds

Mix together the tomato, garlic and basil, and let that mixture stay in a bowl in the fridge for approximately 2 hours. This will let the flavors really do wonderful things.

After 2 hours, preheat the oven to 400. Slice up your bread or baguette (I'll post the recipe for my fridge bread soon) into pieces no bigger than 2"x3". Since you're piling things onto the bread, you want easy-to-manage pieces. Place bread on cookie sheet (I put foil over the sheet, and that worked well).

Load those bread slices up with the tomato/garlic/basil mixture. Drizzle olive oil over the bread pieces, and then pepper and salt the bread pieces. Stick in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until the bread is toasty but not hard-as-a-rock.

Attempt not to explode as you proceed to eat the entire tray. No joke. It's THAT GOOD.


The next dish I made was a soufflé. I got this recipe from the New York Times.

It was a, drumroll, Green Garlic and Chive Soufflé With Gruyère Cheese.


5 tablespoons butter, more for pan

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan

2 fat bulbs green garlic, root and green parts trimmed, outer layer removed

1/4 cup flour

2 cups milk

2 sprigs thyme (I used whole thyme that I ground. I didn't have springs. This worked)

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt plus a pinch

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg

4 egg yolks and 6 egg whites

2/3 cup grated Gruyère cheese (you can find this for a non-gagable price at Costco)

1/4 cup chopped chives

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 2-quart gratin dish (I used a nice cassarole dish) and sprinkle bottom and sides with Parmesan. Using a sharp knife or food processor, mince garlic.

Melt butter in a saucepan and let cook for 1 minute. Add flour and cook, whisking, until mixture is pale golden, about 5 minutes. Whisk in the milk and thyme sprigs, and continue to cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thick and smooth, about 2 minutes longer.

Turn off heat and whisk in salt, pepper and nutmeg. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk in egg yolks, one at a time. Whisk in minced garlic, cheese and chives.

In a mixer, whip egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold soft peaks. Using a spatula, fold a third of the whites into yolk mixture to lighten it, then fold in remaining whites, taking care not to overmix. As you fold, pluck out and discard thyme sprigs.

Spread mixture in prepared pan and smooth top. Bake until golden brown and puffed, 20 to 25 minutes.

Mine turned out a little runny, so I stuck it back in the oven. So, if yours is in a dish that causes it to be 2.5"-3" deep in the center, leave it in the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Both of these recipes are definitely going in the "repeat" pile.

1 comment:

  1. That bruschetta looks amazing!! When we have fresh basil from the garden, I'll try it :) Thanks for sending the recipe my way!