Green garlic is one of the true joys of spring. It’s immature hardneck garlic, plucked from the rows to give the rest the space they need to grow into heads of garlic that will last through the winter. It’s typically picked before the cloves or their papery layers have formed, and so is entirely edible from top to bottom.
Typically, green garlic is sold in long, grassy stalks with the roots still attached. I like to trim away the leggy roots and use the rest of the vegetable in stir fries, baked goods, salads and pestos.
The flavor of green garlic is bright and mild (compared to storage garlic, at least). It mellows nicely when cooked or roasted. The green tops can be wilted into soups, though do take care to trim away any browning or tough parts.
When you shop for green garlic, look towards the root end. For the most tender stalks, seek out those that have root ends that resemble leeks or green onions more than garlic cloves. If the cloves have started to curve out significantly, you may have to do some trimming and peeling before cooking.
I love making pesto from green garlic, but will often temper the bite with the addition of flat-leaf parsley or arugula. It’s good tossed with pasta or used as a base flavor on a homemade pizza. The focaccia recipe is an adaptable one. You can stir whatever seasonal herbs and alliums you have on hand into the dough. And the kale salad is one of my favorite ways to eat up my greens!
Roasted Green Garlic and Arugula Pesto
- 5 stems green garlic
- 1 cup arugula, well-packed
- ½ cup slivered almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for roasting and covering
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425° F.
Rinse any dirt from the green garlic. Trim away the root ends and the leafty tops. Slice the bulb and attached stem lengthwise and place on a baking sheet, cut side down. Drizzle with a little olive oil and place pan in the oven. Roast 8-10 minutes, until they smell fragrant and the green parts start to crisp and brown.
Clean the remaining leafy parts of the green garlic. Discard any truly woody bits and chop what remains into chunks.
Place roasted green garlic, chopped green garlic greens, arugula, almonds, and Parmesan cheese into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to incorporate. Then, running the motor, stream in the olive oil.
Stop the motor, scrape the walls of the bowl and pulse again, until everything is well incorporated. Add salt and pepper and pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust spices, if necessary.
When the pesto is processed to your liking, scrape it into a mason jar. For best refrigerator life, cover the top of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil. When you go to remove pesto from the jar, make sure to use a clean spoon and refresh the olive oil layer.
Green Garlic Focaccia
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1⅔ cups water
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1½ teaspoons yeast
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- 2 stems of green garlic, cleaned and minced
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon flaky sea salt
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the hook attachment, combine the flour, water, and table salt and mix on low until just incorporated.
Sprinkle the yeast and sugar evenly over the dough in the bowl. Mix at a medium speed until the dough is well incorporated and forms a sticky ball. In my KitchenAid, this takes about five minutes, but times will vary. Towards the end of mixing, add the chopped green garlic.
Pour a tablespoon of olive oil into a roomy mixing bowl. Gently scrape the dough into the greased bowl. Drizzle an additional tablespoon of oil over the top of the dough and spread it around with your fingers. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot until it has doubled in size, about 1 to 1½ hours.
When dough has risen sufficiently, grease a rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Scrape dough out onto baking sheet along with any oil in bowl. Using the tips for your fingers (and taking care not make any tears), press dough out into a rough rectangle.
Tuck the baking sheet out of the way for another 20-25 minutes, for a short second rise. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F as well.
Once the second rise is finished, it’s time to bake. Before the bread goes into the oven, quickly poke it all over with the tips of your fingers. You don’t want to deflate it, but you do want to give the focaccia its signature pock-marked look.
Bake for 10 minutes. Remove the focaccia from the oven and brush with the final tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle with the flaky sea salt and bake for an additional 5-8 minutes, until it is a deep, golden brown.
Cut with a pizza cutter and serve warm.
Kale and Avocado Salad with Green Garlic Dressing
- 1 bundle curly kale, washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, divided
- 2 green garlic bulbs, chopped
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 avocado, cubed
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place the clean kale in a large mixing bowl. Add two tablespoons olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Using your hands, mix the oil and salt into the greens. Really work it in, crunching and wringing the kale as you mix (this will help tenderize the salad).
In the bowl of a mortar and pestle, combine the chopped green garlic and the remaining salt. Pound them together with the pestle, until they form a paste. Add the lemon zest, juice and remaining oil and work them together. Scrape the dressing into the kale and mix well. Add the Parmesan cheese, chopped avocado and black pepper and toss to combine.