Spring is on its way! The first signs of spring are popping up everywhere at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets. Green garlic is in season right now, but many people don’t know what to do with it. Green garlic is true garlic, but picked before it has a chance to make a head and form into a bulb of cloves. It is planted in late fall, and if left in the ground it would turn into regular garlic in another three months. It is also pest- resistant and therefore easy for home gardeners to grow. It has a sweet flavor and is milder than regular garlic. It also does not have to be peeled. It can be used like a scallion, but just use the white part, and not the green stems. Green garlic can be used raw in salads, and in tuna salad, egg salad, and pasta salad, or even in guacamole. It can also be roasted whole or chopped and lightly sautéed with butter or olive oil until slightly browned, and is great sautéed with greens or spinach. It’s also delicious in soups or omelets. You can find green garlic at many stands at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets. It will be in season through late spring. Here is a wonderful recipe featuring green garlic courtesy of Adina from Schaner Farms at the Wednesday Market.Green Garlic Soup1/2 – 1 Tablespoon butter1/2 – 1 Tablespoon olive oil5-8 spring (green) onions, finely chopped15 green garlic, finely chopped1 leek finely chopped5 cloves garlic, mincedkosher salt1 potato, peeled and chopped4 cups vegetable or chicken broththyme and cream, optionalMelt the butter with the olive oil in a saucepan or soup pot. Add the onion, green garlic, leek, and garlic. Sauté five to ten minutes, until the vegetables start to soften, making sure they don’t stick to the pan. Salt to taste. Cover the pan and sauté another minute. Add the potato. Toss a bit, cover and sauté another five minutes. Add the broth. (Add some thyme if you’d like at this point). Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer partly covered about 20 minutes, until the potato is soft. Puree most of the soup in a blender or food mill, leaving a bit of the garlic and onion if you like a soup with bits. (You don’t have to puree it all if you prefer.) Adjust seasonings to taste. Re-warm to serve. You may also like to add some cream to taste for a heavier soup. You may sprinkle with additional chopped green garlic bits.Makes about four servings but is easily multiplied.
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