Saturday, my sister Judy, who was visiting for the weekend, and I headed over to the Davis Farmers’ Market for some of Pilar’s famous tamales for breakfast and to look for some vegetable plants. The first thing on our agenda was to head on over to Pilar’s cart and get our pork tamales. It didn’t take us long to eat them, they’re so yummy it never does. With satisfied tummies we meandered through the market to see what looked good and to find the best selection of vegetable plants, which was the other reason we ventured to Davis. We found a nice selection of healthy looking plants and Judy bought several varieties of tomato, a Japanese eggplant, and some herbs. On our way back towards the car we decided to shop for some veggies to accompany the steak we were planning to grill that evening for dinner. We picked up some very nice fingerling potatoes; some spring garlic and some baby bok choy.
For those of you who may not know what spring garlic or green garlic is, it is young garlic that is harvested before the cloves have begun to mature. It resembles scallions, with a deep green stalk and a pale white bulb. The flavor is still garlicky, but it’s milder with less of a bitter bite. When cooked, green garlic’s flavor sweetens. The whole plant, including the leaves, can be used. Some cooks use green garlic instead of mature garlic or scallions for a different flavor in a favorite dish. It can be used raw or cooked. I happen to love green garlic and look forward to its appearance each spring at the Farmers’ Market. This is the first week I have noticed it.
That evening Judy clopped the green garlic and sautéed it in a little olive oil, then she added the bok choy leaves that she had separated from the stalk, added a little chicken broth, covered the pan and let the veggies steam until just done. Meanwhile I steamed the little fingerlings until they were pierced easily with a fork then placed them on a clean cotton dish towel, covered the potatoes with part of the towel then smashed each potato with my hand until they were about ¼” thick. Then with a spatula I moved each potato pancake to an awaiting fry pan with hot olive and cooked them until they were browned and crisp on both sides. Both veggies were the perfect accompaniment to the grilled steak.
If you think you’d like to try green garlic watch for it at your Farmers’ Market now. The season is very short.