Our first food box of the year included some of our juicy green garlic. Green garlic is the name for the immature garlic stems, which will bulb up later in the season. Right now you can use green garlic much as you would a green onion or baby leek, but with a mild garlic flavour. You can chop it up – white bulb and tender green stem – and use it in stir-fries, add it to soups, stews, risottos and omelettes, or make it into pesto.
Garlic’s a great thing to eat because it’s a member of the allium family, like onions & leeks. It contains allicin, an anti-inflammatory compound providing antioxidant (cancer-fighting) properties, and protecting cardiovascular health. The greens will add vitamins and soluble and insoluble fibre to your diet as well. The lightest-coloured greens will be the most tender, but all parts can be used, especially if you are pureeing them (e.g. for pesto or hummus).
Here’s a simple meal or side dish featuring green garlic, which takes around half an hour to make:
Green Garlic Risotto
(Serves 4)
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3 green garlic stalks (or garlic scapes), trimmed and finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1-1/2 cups aborio or carnaroli rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth, brought to a simmer
1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan, plus more for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
chopped fresh parsley, to serve (optional)
1. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in the olive oil in a heavy, medium pot. Add the green garlic and salt. Cook gently on a medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft but not browned, around 5-10 minutes.
2. Turn up the heat a bit, add the rice and stir to coat with the butter and olive oil. Cook, stirring, until the rice is well coated and beginning to turn translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until the wine is fully absorbed.
3. Add 1 cup of the simmering broth. Cook, stirring, until the broth is almost entirely absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the rice to absorb each batch before adding more. This should take around 15 minutes. Continue until the rice is just tender but still firm to the bite, and the mixture looks creamy.
4. Stir in 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, the lemon juice and a twist of black pepper. Check seasonings, then cover the pot with a lid for about 2 minutes. Serve, garnished with additional Parmesan and some chopped parsley, if you like.
And… if you’d like to be more adventurous, check out this recipe for fermented hot green garlic.
— Rhona McAdam, R.H.N.
Go Local Nutrition at Haliburton Farm