Green garlic is the immature form of garlic before it makes a head of cloves. At Taproot, it helps fill the void between when we’ve used up our last stores of garlic from the previous year and before we can start picking fresh heads in mid summer (we’d never want to go without something garlicky in our diets!). It is far less pungent than clove garlic, making it useful for raw applications as well as cooked–and because it is still young and tender, you can use all of the green stalk as well as the white bulbous part.
One of my favorite (and simplest) ways to use green garlic is to quickly sauté it with any one of the numerous cooking greens offered in the CSA box this time of year. This week, Spinach, Red Russian Kale, and Swiss Chard all make an appearance. No matter what green you use, be sure to rinse it and remove any unwanted stems and damaged leaves before cooking. (Note: the stems of both kale and swiss chard are edible when cooked, but require more cooking time than the leaves. If using, simply chop and add to the pan a few minutes before you add the leaves.) I made this recipe using swiss chard, but it could be made with kale, spinach, turnip greens, bok choy, or braising mix as well.