The nose knows that those long, lanky stems are not the doppelganger for leeks but barely adolescent stalks of garlic, which are still edible from root hairs to gentle green tops. Before the garlic swells at its base, and the stem stiffens from a dense inner fibrous shoot, that will support subsequently the flower, I am obliged to eat the entire plant. The root hairs are immediately trimmed from the yet to be recognized bulbous foundation, and stored in freezer bags for an autumn soup or stew. The rest of the plant for now is treated as I would its cousin, scallions, by just peeling away an outer layer and washing any dirt from the remaining stalk. Then chopped, grilled, or caramelized into the myriad of dishes that calls for its more pronounced parent it will go.
The just escaping flower buds are definitely to be harvested and used separately – and for that I will address them separately.
I have been pondering the storage of this stinky rose for a future date. So, into the food processor I am placing these juvenile alliums along with olive oil to make a pesto that will have no relation to the beloved herbaceous concoction of basil except they will both be pastes, and will last about six months in the freezer. I can already envision a chimicurri sauce with this pesto as its base over the grilled meats of summer. Or, when potatoes arrive later in the year I will be serving a green tinted potage.
Spring Garlic Pesto – yields approx 1 quart
3 spring garlic – root hairs trimmed away
4 scallions – root hairs trimmed away
Zest of one lime
1/2-cup pumpkin seeds – lightly toasted
1/2-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4-cup olive oil
Roughly chopped the garlic and scallions. Then in a sieve wash them to rid it of any dirt and debris.
Then in a food processor place the garlic, scallions, pumpkin seeds, lime zest, salt and peeper. With the machine running drizzle in the oil – if the pesto seems too thick add a bit more oil. Remove to a storage container. Drizzle a little oil on top of the pesto when it is being stored to prevent it for oxidizing and also to thwart the growth of mold.
Store in the refrigerator for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to six months.