Even here in Northern California, we have been waiting all winter for spring to arrive. One of the first signs of spring is green garlic – it looks like a baby leek or a green onion and has a mild garlicky flavor. We are starting to see some green garlic now as we thin the garlic plants to make way for bigger bulbs in the summer. We love using this allium so much that we actually planted a few rows that we can harvest now. You can find green garlic at your local farmer’s market – make sure to look for fresh green tops.
To store green garlic, wrap them in a damp paper towel and refrigerate. Green garlic won’t last as long as dried garlic, so use it as soon as possible in any dish you’d like to add a bit of garlic to (such as omelets, soups, vinaigrettes, etc). And don’t be afraid to use the entire plant – plant tops can be chopped into ½ -inch segments, blanched for 30 seconds in salted boiling water, shocked in an ice bath and pureed. This mixture can be used in cream sauces, soups or risotto.
A little later in the month, you’ll also find garlic scapes at the market. These are the curly flowers of hard neck varieties of garlic. Farmers cut them off to concentrate the plant’s energy into producing a bulb. These are a little tougher than green garlic, but are perfect for stir-fry or simmered in soup.
Check out our recipe for Green Garlic Soup. We’re currently serving the soup at the Kendall-Jackson Wine Center, using green garlic picked fresh from our culinary garden.
Green Garlic Soup
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Highland Estates Camelot Highlands Chardonnay
The sweet flavors of the first tender garlic of spring coaxes a balance of creaminess and white peach fruit flavors from the Camelot Highlands Chardonnay.
Recipe makes 6 cups
- 1 lb. (3 bunches) green garlic, cleaned*
- ½ onion, sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, halved
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 5 oz. potatoes, ½-inch dice
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup cream
- 4 cups water
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground white pepper (4 turns)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath and set aside.
- Slice the bottoms of the green garlic. Reserve the green tops.
- In a large pot over medium-low heat, add the butter and melt. Add the green garlic bottoms, onion and garlic. Sweat for 6 to 10 minutes until onions are translucent. Add the salt, potatoes, cream and water. Cook until potatoes are tender.
- Meanwhile, cut the tops of the reserved green garlic in ½ to 1-inch pieces. Place in the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute. Remove green garlic from the boiling water and shock in ice water. Remove from ice bath and squeeze to remove the excess water. Set aside green garlic and reserve ice bath.
- Once the potatoes are tender, add the blanched green garlic tops to the soup. Carefully, transfer the soup to a blender and blend until mixture is bright green. Pour through a mesh strainer into a bowl placed over the ice bath. Cool quickly to maintain the color.
- Salt to taste. Add lemon juice and pepper. This soup can be served chilled in the style of vichyssoise or reheated gently and served immediately (be careful not to reheat for too long or the beautiful green color will be lost).
*To clean green garlic: Cut garlic in half lengthwise and run under cold water to thoroughly rinse. Submerge the garlic in cold water for five minutes, drain and rinse one more time.