I was really excited this week to find some local green garlic in Terra Organica (Flora & Cornwall, Bellingham). Green garlic (also called “garlic greens,” “spring garlic,” or “baby garlic”) is a good example of a food item you don’t often see in grocery stores except when it’s locally produced.
Garlic is usually planted in the fall for harvest midsummer of the following year when the tops begin to turn brown and dry up. That’s a signal that the plant is sending all its energy into growing the bulb just below the ground. However, in early spring, before the garlic begins to form a bulb, it grows a stalk and leaves that look much like scallions, or green onions. If harvested then, it’s called green garlic.
Green garlic has a milder flavor than garlic cloves from the bulb, but it still gives a nice garlicky flavor to recipes. It can be prepared much like scallions, keeping in mind the flavor is very different. Use it raw in salads, boiled or sautéed with other vegetables, or made into a sauce for meats–the options are endless.
Green garlic is at the heart of this week’s menu, but some crispy, fresh bok choy also made an early and welcome appearance this week. I’ve combined the two in the side dish recipe.
How’s your garden coming along? Tomato plants for container gardening are available at garden nurseries and grocery stores at this time of year.