Green Garlic Soup
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!
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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!!