Thursday, May 8, 2008

Green Garlic

I was at the farmers market early Tuesday morning when I spied a bucket of green garlic in the back of Beth's truck where she had set it aside for me. She set it aside for me because I always buy it.

In the photo (click on it to view the large image), from the bottom, you see a leek, then the green garlic, and green onions. Note the flat, silvery, leek-like leaves on the garlic and a hint of purple on one of the bulbs. If you smell green garlic, it has a faint garlic smell.

Green garlic is merely immature garlic, harvested in the spring before the bulb develops. I use it as a replacement for garlic (except when I need whole garlic bulbs) and also as a substitute for green onions. Green garlic is a good way to add subtle garlic flavor to a dish. I also like to braise green garlic as I would green onions or bias cut it and stir fry it in Chinese dishes—lamb with green garlic is outstanding.

So far this week, the green garlic has gone into a risotto of bamboo rice, into the Israeli couscous for the lamb, and into the morels with Surry sausage, asparagus, and egg noodles. Here's a quick kid-pleasing take on "ranch" dressing:

Creamy Green Garlic Salad Dressing

1/2 cup green garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
1/4 cup unsweetened rice vinegar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup neutral vegetable oil
salt to taste

Place the garlic, parsley, pepper, and vinegar into a blend container and blend until the garlic is fairly smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until well incorporated. If you need to thin the dressing, taste it. If it needs more acid, thin with vinegar. If it is too acid, add more oil or water. If it is just right, thin with water. Season to taste.

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