Green garlic soup

April 11, 2010

 

I love springtime. It's when some of my favorite green vegetables become available: snow peas, brussel sprouts, fava beans and the king of spring vegetables, the green garlic. When very young, before the bulb has separated into cloves, I like to slice them whole and make into green aglio e olio. A few weeks later, the bulbs are all grown up and can be used just as the plain dry garlic, but with a twist.

 

What I like to do is purchase an outrageous amount of garlic (around 10 kilos), separate the stems from the bulbs and freeze the stems. Then, some of the bulbs are saved for immediate use (you can keep them in the fridge for a few weeks and they will preserve their moist and young taste) and the rest are cleaned, broken into cloves and frozen in a tight freezer-proof box. This way, I have fresh-tasting garlic for a good few months after spring.

 

This soup should be made the day you buy green garlic, not a single day later. Its delicate taste relies on the fresh garlic. This is one of these recipes where if you're missing an ingredient, better look for another recipe. There's absolutely no substitute for good green garlic.

 

Serves: 8

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 6 large garlic heads, bulbs and stems separated

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and diced

  • 1 root parsley, peeled and diced

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup white wine or vermouth

  • 20g butter

  • 1 liter vegetable or chicken stock

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • Salt

  • A pinch of nutmeg

  • Parmesan cheese, grated

  • Chopped parsley

 

Preparation:

 

  • Separate the garlic bulbs from the stems. Trip the upper, flexible parts of the stems and discard, remove any thick outer layer, then separate each stem into two parts, greens and whites, then slice separately. Clean the bulbs from any dirt, roots or dry layers and thinly slice them.

  • In a large pot, heat the olive oil and butter and add the onion, root parsley, garlic bulbs and stem whites. Sauté just until the onion and garlic have become slightly transparent.

  • Add the wine or vermouth and reduce, then add the potatoes, a pinch of nutmeg, salt to taste and the stock. Simmer for 30 minutes.

  • Pureé using a hand blender, add the garlic stem greens and cook for another 2 minutes or just until they have soften enough to be eaten - this depends on how young the garlic is.

  • Serve with grated parmesan cheese, a pinch of parsley, a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and freshly ground black pepper.

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