Monday, May 24, 2010

Green Garlic and Happy Accidents

I have been trolling the farmer's markets lately, chomping at the bit for them to hit their stride.  I'm impatient for summer corn and heirloom tomatoes, watermelons and green beans.  Fortunately there are some early vegetables that have such a short season that when I find them I feel like I've won the lottery.  It's like finding a fabulous pair of shoes on the sale rack and it just happens to be your size!  Except, that never happens to me in real life.  Where are all those people who wear a size 5 shoe, anyway?  Plenty of sale shoes left for them.

Sorry, lost focus...back to food.  If you find rhubarb, ramps, fiddlehead ferns or green garlic, scoop them up while you can.  Their growing season is short and sweet so fill up now.  I came upon some beautiful green garlic at the Union Square Farmer's Market.  Green garlic is young garlic, before the cloves have formed.  It looks like big scallions with white bulbs and green stalks.  It's sweeter and more mellow than mature garlic.

I had a craving for roasted garlic which is done with wrapping a whole garlic bulb in foil with olive oil and oven roasting until soft and spreadable.  I thought, why use the same technique with the green garlic?

Plan A,  roast it and spread it on warm bread.  I put the green garlic, bulbs and stems in some foil with olive oil and salt and roasted it in a 400 degree oven until soft.  It smelled so good.  I then took a loaf of foil wrapped bread from my freezer and popped that in the oven to warm.  I couldn't wait to slather the soft roasted garlic onto that bread.  I took the warm bread out of the oven and unwrapped it to find this.  Doh!  It was my spare loaf of Easter bread.  A sweet bread that would not pair so well with my roasted garlic.  Wah Wah.

On to Plan B.  There's always a plan B, right? Otherwise known as make-it-up-as-you-go-along.  I had a sheet of puff pastry languishing in the fridge.  I took the roasted green garlic and put it in my mini food processor with a little more olive oil until I had a sweet, warm, green, garlicky spread.  I slathered that on the puff pastry and then sprinkled the whole thing with some grated Cacio Roma cheese. 

Baked for 15-20 minutes at 400 it came out of the oven golden and bubbly.The crispy, buttery pastry combined with the sweet garlic. The creamy, melty Cacio de Roma was mild enough to not overpower the green garlic. The verdict, way better than Plan A would have been.  Now, if only I were so lucky in the shoe department.

Green Garlic Tart
 Serves 6 as an appetizer

3 stalks of green garlic
2T olive oil
pinch of kosher salt
1 sheet of puff pastry
2-3 ounces Cacio de Roma cheese, shredded

1. Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Trim roots off of green garlic bulbs and cut green stems from bulbs.
3. Place bulbs and stems in foil.  Drizzle 1-2 teaspoons of olive oil over garlic and sprinkle with salt.
4. Wrap up green garlic and roast in oven until soft and fragrant, approximately 20 minutes.
5. Unfold puff pastry onto a sheet of parchment paper laid on a baking sheet.  With a knife, score a rectangle around the perimeter of pastry 1/4 inch from the edge.
6.  When garlic is roasted, transfer to a mini food processor and puree, bulbs and stems.  Consistency will be a little stringy/fibrous.  Add up to a tablespoon of olive oil to help blend together.  Taste and add salt if needed.
7. Spread green garlic paste inside perimeter of pastry.  Top with shredded cheese.  Bake for 15-20 minutes until cheese is bubbly and golden and edges and bottom of tart are golden.


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