It’s garlic that hasn’t graduated yet.
Green garlic—or spring garlic—is simply garlic that’s pulled from the ground before the bulb of cloves matures and starts to dry. You’ll see it in the market and in your CSA sharebox throughout spring and summer, first as what looks like a scallion but smells like mild garlic; then as a larger, leek-like stalk with a bulb (but without discrete cloves); and finally as a full-sized, “green” (still moist) bulb with separable cloves.
Though once in a while you’ll run across a zippy, peppery stalk, at its early stages, green garlic is usually quite mild. And when roasted or grilled, it becomes sweet and creamy.
In early spring, you’ll find me tossing early-stage garlic (or, later, garlic scapes, the sprouty, flower-to-be that lives above ground) into everything from scrambled eggs to salads to potatoes to pickles. My first bunch of this season went into the oven to get caramelly, and then got whirred into an improvised batch of hummus for our Saturday staff snack.
Roasted Green-Garlic Hummus
- 1-1/2 cups cooked or canned Garbanzo beans, mostly drained
- small bunch of green garlic
- juice of a medium lemon (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/4 cup tahini (I’m addicted to Soom Foods‘ version, made with Ethiopian White Humera sesame seeds)
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2-3/4 tsp Za’atar or cumin or your favorite zingy spice
Preheat oven to 350º.
Wash and trim the garlic stalks, setting aside the best leaves for another use (I sprinkled them, minced, into a dinner omelet later that night). Roughly chop the white and light green parts, toss them in a small baking dish with a little olive oil to coat, cover the dish with foil, and roast for 20-30 minutes, until soft and dark. Let them cool for at least 15 minutes before you proceed.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the garlic, lemon juice, and about half the Za’atar (or whatever you’re using). Just a rough chop here—it’ll get whizzed plenty more later on.
Scoop in the tahini, and let it run for 20-30 seconds. Add about half the beans; pulse 5 or 6 times. Add the balance of the beans, and do another set of 6 pulses. Turn the processor on steady, and stream in the oil until you get a smooth paste. If it’s thicker than you like, add a little water.
Taste, and adjust the seasonings. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and, if you like, a sprinkling of paprika or parsley (or even minced green-garlic tops).
Keeps in the fridge, covered tightly, for up to a week.