Green garlic is the best thing ever. I’ve mentioned before how Germany gets excited about Spargelzeit (“asparagus time”) each year, with seemingly every restaurant featuring asparagus on its menu. I’ve never understood why California doesn’t get equally excited about green garlic, although its use seems to be growing.
In short, green garlic is young, immature garlic that hasn’t formed its familiar bulbs or been cured/dried. It has a much milder flavor than mature cured garlic, but its flavor is still distinctly in the allium family. Think of chives, but not as delicate. Or leeks, but more garlicky.
One of my favorite ways to use green garlic is just to trim the tough parts and roots off, cut it in quarters lengthwise, and sauté it in butter until tender. From there, you can just eat it alone or put it on almost anything. (See last week’s pizza, for example.) But I love it so much that that wasn’t enough for me! Instead, I created this green garlic “everything spread” to put on anything. It’s delicious on bread, in sandwiches, on roasted or raw vegetables… I even like dipping my pizza crusts into it. It’s a bit like a more mature and elegant version of the sour cream and onion flavor that’s so prevalent in chips and dips.
The bread featured in the pictures is from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery in Yountville, California, which I absolutely recommend if you’re in the area!
- 5 stalks of green garlic
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ cup crème fraîche
- ½ cup cream
- ½ cup flavorless oil
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika adjust to taste
- Trim off and discard the roots and tough upper few inches off the 5 green garlic stalks. Cut the stalks in half from top to bottom.
- Melt the 1 tablespoon of butter in a wide pan. Add a generous pinch of salt and place the garlic stalks in, cut side down.
- Sauté over medium heat until the green garlic is very tender, stirring frequently, then remove from the heat.
- Allow the sautéed green garlic to cool, then put it in a food processor along with the 1/2 cup of crème fraîche and 1/2 cup of cream. Process until fairly smooth.
- In a slow stream, trickle in the 1/2 cup of flavorless oil while the food processor keeps running. Once you’ve added it all, turn off the food processor. Mix in the 1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika and a generous pinch of salt, taste, and adjust if necessary.