Sunday, February 15, 2009

Green Garlic

Last weekend one of our farm stand items was green garlic. The little hand-drawn sign advertised to "eat it all!" so we decided to try it. I had never heard of this food, but according to the green garlic entry here, it's just young fresh garlic before the greens have died back and the cloves have matured. It is very much like big green onions, though the greens have more thickness and moisture too them. The flavor is very pleasant and mild (compared to regular garlic - it was still very fragrant).
Our first meal with this was Penne with Ricotta and Green Garlic Sauce, which I found here. We were not overly impressed with this. The parsley was from the garden and may have been a bit overgrown because my boys thought it was too papery-chewy. I thought the flavor was a bit flat. I added the zest and juice of a lemon, which helped, but no one was clamoring for the leftovers.

So, I did what I do with leftover pasta - made pastizzio! Pastizzio seems to be a bit varied according to who is describing it. At our favorite Greek place, it's a tall block with all the flavors of lasagna, plus feta cheese, and made with penne instead of layered noodles. This was the only picture I found that came close to what we're used to; everything else seemed to have a wide range of definitions of this food. But the point is, when I have leftover pasta, I use ground meat, red sauce, and cheese plus whatever related veggies I have (mushrooms, olives, spinach, etc). I mix them all in a skillet then bake until browned and bubbly. It's a lot like lasagna but without the hassle. The real benefit is that I can call it Greek Food, which means I can serve it with hummus and tabouli, two of my favorite foods. The green garlic and ricotta in this pasta were ideal for pastizzio and made a subtle but delicious difference from our usual combination.

Finally, I took the rest of the green garlic and made Green Garlic and Potato Soup. It may not look it from the picture, but this was the winner! Very homey, comforting, and good.

Green Garlic and Potato Soup
3 stalks green garlic, white and green pieces, chopped
1 T butter
5 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
3-4 c chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 c milk
1/4 c sour cream

In a large saucepan, saute the green garlic in butter until tender and beginning to brown. Add stock, potatoes, salt and pepper. Boil until potatoes are soft. Mash potatoes slightly, leaving a thicker soup and some chunks of potato intact. (Can hold at this point until ready to serve.)
Remove from heat and add milk and sour cream. Serve with parmesean and/or parsley for Garnish!

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