FRESH GARLIC and wild garlics, spring resources

In the opening picture, you can see a fresh garlic plant. You may find it at farmers’ markets, perhaps also in some better equipped supermarkets.

Never tried this ? Do now, since within short time you will not find it anymore, until next year. It is a seasonal product, a spring resource.

Fresh onions are not, they are available year round… but onions are propagated by seeds, so it is enough to sow seeds and, after a while, you have the fresh onions. Garlic no, it does not produce seeds. Garlic is propagated by planting bulb cloves, that have however their own biorithm: they stay dormant for some time, during which they do not sprout. After that, they will sprout, following their cycle; if the new plantlet is let to grow, it will end up producing a new complete bulb, the one that can be stored.

But so, why to consume it earlier ? Well, in past times, at the onset of spring, there was a desire of fresh vegetables; it was not like nowadays, when we can find everything at anytime, coming from all around the world. In the past the coming of spring opened the games to pick all what was available: wild greens, sprouts and much more; things that are becoming a fashion at present times, but we will have occasions to further speak about that. And, not last, stored garlic bulbs could have been all consumed during winter!  So, also fresh garlic, before the onset of bulb formation, or only little later, was in the number of spring resources.

So, if you are not among the ones that “No, garlic never !”, try it. How? I give you some inspiration here below, but also try yourself, and imagine how you can do.  By the way, you can go and find it at farmers market, that is also a way to slow down a bit… finally, relaxation. You can use fresh garlic either raw or cooked but, important: DO NOT throw away the greens !

allium triquetrum

Allium triquetrum in flower

By the way, do you know that genus  Allium is among the biggest, including over 700 species, mostly from the temperate or cold areas of the northern hemisphere ? Potentially, most of them are edible, during some of their life cycle phases. We have many of them also in our flora. If you live, or sometimes go, in some Mediterranean areas, but in the cooler places, you may find now plenty of Allium triquetrum; its leaves are tasty, mildly pungent and sweetish. Again, go now: after flowering and seed set the areial parts will disappear, until next winter. Do not be dubious to pick a bit of this garlic: in the places where it grows, it is usually very abundant, almost a weed; okay, to not dig out the bulbs, that are by the way not very satisfactory: they are small and often very deep into the soil, definitely not worth the effort.  Surprise: also the flowers are very good: they taste sweetish, with a garlic and nectar flavour;  they will make a masterpiece out of a cherry tomato salad.

If you want to be with me during coming Eastern period, form your  8-10 people group and contact me; we will go for a hike in wonderful Ligurian coast, ending with wild garlic picking; I will give details to whom is interested !

Sole over a fresh garlic bed

The hardliners of fish cooked without any addition, only keeping the taste of the sea, will consider me crazy. But, if you want to try, maybe you will enjoy this recipe.

Soles, according to the number of people; better if you do not remove the skins

A plant of fresh garlic each two medium-size fishes

Olive oil  (must be of good quality!!)

Lemon

Salt

If you want: dried dill of wild fennel flowers

sogliola

The sole, here in a variant without fresh garlic bed: I forgot to photograph it !

Very simple:  coarsely chop the fresh garlic and wilt it a bit with olive oil, into a pan; add the soles and some thin lemon slices; cover and let it cook at moderate fire. The soles will produce enough liquid to cook. When half cooked, if you want, sprinkle with dill or fennel flowers.

Turn the soles, remove the cover, to let the liquid evaporate.

 

 

 

 

Filippo D’Antuono – piudimille.com
March 2018 – All rights resarved

Salad of young spinaches, broccoli raab young leaves and fresh garlic

insalata aglio fresco

And here is the salad of spinach, young turnip leaves nd fresh garlic

This is a very simple recipe, a part finding broccoli raab leaves at the appropriate stage. As you perhaps know, broccoli raab are the turnip tops, very popular as winter greens in  Mediterranean  Italy; they are usually eaten cooked, in several ways.  Young spinaches, the ones than can be eaten raw, are quite easy to find. Finding broccoli raab young leaves may be a bit more difficult; these are the leaves of the latest regrowths of early varieties, very small and tender, that are generally not picked. But somebody does and, again, you may find them at farmers markets. Or, you can select the top younger leaves from commercial tops, but this is quite a job; the older leaves, the ones to be cooked, are not suitable. If you really do not find any young leaves, you may try with rocket salad, but is not the same.

Again, very simple:  cut fresh garlic into slices, including the green; clean the spinaches and the turnip leaves, keeping leaf laminas only (the petioles are a bit tougher). Season with olive oil, that must be however of excellent quality.

It combines the two kinds of puncency of fresh garlic and broccoli raab raw leaves, with the delicacy of spinach: it is very harmonic, in my opinion.

Filippo D’Antuono – piudimille.com
March 2018 – All rights resarved