Green Garlic Soup

April 20th, 2009  |  Published in All, Around the World, Garlic, Most Popular, Veritable Vegetables, Weeknight Recipes  |  12 Comments

Green Garlic

Green Garlic Soup
serves 2

4 heads green garlic with stem, trimmed (heads should be about 2 inches in diameter — use more if your heads are smaller)
2 c. rich vegetable stock
1 rind from a hard salty cheese like dutch edamer (optional, but adds a nice richness)

Slice the green garlic in half lengthwise.  Put in a medium sized pot and cover with vegetable stock.  Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low.  Add the cheese rind.  Simmer for 40 minutes until the garlic is soft.

Remove the cheese rind from the broth and discard.  Pass the garlic and broth through the medium disc of a food mill.  There will be a good handful of leftover fibrous material, which you should discard.  Reheat soup, ladle into bowls and serve.  Enjoy!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Besides the expected potatoes and cabbage, green garlic is one item that I have been coming across with great frequency here in Germany.  I rarely remember seeing it back in California — I perhaps had tried it once or twice before coming here — but over the past months, I’ve come to know and love this mild, younger sibling of typical garlic.

Green garlic (also called young garlic) is simply garlic that is harvested before the plant has had a chance to form cloves.  There’s no paper skin, just solid garlic through the whole head.  There may or may not be a papery outer layer over the whole head; if there is, you should remove it, as it is somewhat fibrous.  About 20-30% seem to have this outer layer, the rest not.  It has a taste that is much milder than mature garlic (don’t be alarmed that I call for four heads for two servings!), and to me tastes lighter, less earthy, more tangy, and almost a little sweet.  Another quick note, since there is no peeling involved, green garlic is very quick and easy to work with.

So whether spring is just arriving (ahem, Hannover), or whether it’s already been around for a while, I encourage you to seek out this somewhat unusual food, along with nettles, elder flowers, ramps, wild garlic, or anything else uniquely “springtime” in your area.  For me, this means white asparagus (LOTS!), coming soon to a market near me!!

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Responses

  1. Mama JJ says:

    April 20th, 2009at 3:11 pm(#)

    I’ve heard you can make pesto with the green garlic tops (in place of pesto), from the stalk that flowers. Have you ever tried that?

  2. Jen says:

    April 20th, 2009at 9:30 pm(#)

    Mama JJ — I’ve never heard of that before — it sounds tasty though! What is pretty common here is to use wild garlic (barlauch) for pesto (which I also haven’t tried but hopefully soon!)

  3. Nikki says:

    April 22nd, 2009at 11:59 pm(#)

    Sounds great! Do you know of a good vegetable stock recipe? I have been trying to make more vegan meals and I think a good stock is important. Thanks.

  4. Jen says:

    April 23rd, 2009at 4:02 am(#)

    Nikki — I actually don’t make all that much vegetable stock. I tend to make lots of chicken stock and other meat-based broths, but rarely make veg stock from scratch…

    But, “Chez Panisse Vegetables” to the rescue! Here’s what they say:

    ————
    Start with a piece of Kombu. A piece about 3 inches square would do for 3-4 qts of broth. Soak the kombu for about an hour in as much tepid water as you intend to use for the stock, remove it, and set aside to be added later.

    Trim and dice or slice thin leeks, celery carrots, and onions. Exact proportions are not important, but it is better if you go lightly on the sweeter vegetables — carrots and onions. In a stockpot, saute the vegetables in butter until softened and lightly browned. Add some chopped garlic and then pour in the kombu water. Add parsley stalks, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat, add the piece of kombu, and cook at just below a simmer for an hour. Strain, and it is ready to use. Salt just before using, depending on the preparation; the saltiness of the seaweed varies. If you like, darken the color of the stock with a little soy sauce
    ————

    If you don’t want to make it from scratch, I’ve been happy with both the organic version of vegetable “Better than Bullion”, and Rapunzel vegetable bullion cubes, neither of which are too salty (most bullion is waaaay too salty in my opinion). Most natural foods stores (as well as the bigger ones like Whole Foods) should carry these.

  5. Erin says:

    April 23rd, 2009at 9:24 am(#)

    Oddly enough, I have a heel of edamer from a wedge a friend brought me on her last visit. The soup sounds absolutely mouthwatering.

    Sorry this is a little off topic, but it is like 90 degrees in NoCal now. Is it normally like that this time of year? I am wigging a little since my move is coming very, very soon and I hate the heat. Isn’t it supposed to be a bit more temperate there?

  6. Jen says:

    April 23rd, 2009at 1:01 pm(#)

    Erin — I can’t believe it’s so HOT there right now! Down on the peninsula (Palo Alto, Mountain View, etc) you get those temps during the summer, but not in SF and Marin County. SF has atypical seasons too — spring and autumn are warm, sunny and clear, and summer tends to be cool and cloudy…

  7. Erin says:

    April 25th, 2009at 5:45 am(#)

    That’s a relief!

  8. Nikki says:

    April 25th, 2009at 11:37 pm(#)

    Thank you for the recipe. Purchasing the cookbook you mentioned is at the top of my list of things to do when I get back to the states this week. Thanks again.

  9. denise says:

    April 27th, 2009at 12:09 pm(#)

    wow! your green garlic looks so different from what i’ve seen around here lately. the green garlic i’ve seen both from mariquita farm and on the stands at the farmers market has looked more like this: http://www.mariquita.com/recipes/green.garlic.htm

  10. denise says:

    May 6th, 2009at 6:54 pm(#)

    i almost forgot to tell you that i bought some green garlic at the farmers market last weekend that looked much more like your photo above. maybe my earlier purchases were just younger and smaller. happy cooking!

  11. Jen says:

    May 6th, 2009at 10:57 pm(#)

    denise — what have you been cooking with it? I’ve been using it all over the place, usually just as a substitute for garlic, but in much larger quantities — from what I’ve seen, one head of green garlic has the potency of 4-5 regular cloves

  12. Nils Peterson says:

    April 25th, 2011at 7:46 pm(#)

    @ Mama JJ Google Garlic Scape Pesto. Do an image search to see what the scapes look like. I see them for sale in farmers market in late May/early June

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