Monday, June 22, 2009

Blooming Garlic

In the market for the last couple of weeks has been the bolting flower stem of garlic. Presently, this stalk emerging from the center of the sub-terrain bulb seeking the sun or an eager chef is the unopened blossom and subsequent seedpod of the kitchen’s most ubiquitous ingredient.

Somewhere along the line these gently, scented nascent flowers got marketed as garlic scapes….I think someone had either a heavy accent or a speech impediment for they are truly escaping from the plant. Regardless, of how they are referred to or how they got their curious name this is an exciting time in the garlic season. Most of our local farmers are harvesting the scapes separate from the rest of the plant to sell them to us, and how fortunate we are. For otherwise, you would be buying a dozen or so spring garlic in order to get a pound of scapes. It is the most tender and mellow part of the garlic’s maturation, which can happily find itself strewn throughout a day’s culinary jaunt. The relative docility of this portion of the plant allows it to be freely snipped into salads or sliced into saut├ęs. Of course, as is my habit, whenever applicable, I will be pickling these buds while I simultaneously cooking everything from eggs to pasta all fortified with these stinky florets.

Spring Garlic Roast Pork – yields 4 to 6 servings
2-1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder
1-teaspoon celery salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4-cup red wine
1-tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1-tablespoon red wine vinegar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 pound shallots – halved and outer skin discarded
1 head spring garlic – sliced
1/4 pound garlic scapes – sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

Pre-heat the oven to 300-degrees.

Heat an eight-inch cast iron skillet over a high heat. Season the pork with the celery salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then sear the pork in the skillet on all sides, and then pour in the wine, Worcestershire, vinegar and cayenne pepper. Cover the aluminum foil, and place in the oven. Cook the pork for an hour and half. Take the pork from the oven and sprinkle over the halved shallots and sliced garlic head. Return to the oven and cook another hour covered. Once again, remove the pork from the oven and add the sliced garlic scapes. Cook the pork for an additional 30 to 45 minutes, uncovered. Correct seasoning, and serve.

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