“What if we had an entire week of sunny days?” My neighbor grumbled today as we selected new potatoes from a market stall….”everything is late this year!” By now, the first crisp, green asparagus have come and gone, followed by delicate white ones, and new carrots are bright with their tops still on. But the veg family that evolves most rapidly, with new developments each week – worth following every step of the way – is garlic!
The pencil thin sprouts in late April could easily be mistaken for young green onions, before their gradual bulbing as the days pass to yield stiff, elongated stems and bulging heads this week. It is a more nuanced and juicy seasoner than the dried heads with their bitter inner sprouts, still left from 2012′s harvest. A few ways to use this mild and juicy stage of the ancient seasoner run from simply peeling off the outer layer and mincing the buds (soon to become cloves) and mashing them with a pinch of sea salt and lemon juice as a base for vinaigrettes, to smear on or inside fish before it is sautéed or baked, and to enhance the earliest steamed broad beans. How easy is that? And there will be more on fresh garlic as the season progresses!