Culinary herbalist, cookbook author, writer and food photographer, Pat Crocker is passionate about food and herbs. Visit her at www.riversongherbals.com.
Anyone who has ever grown garlic knows how delicious the green tops are in spring salads and perhaps have even tossed a handful into a soup stock. With their heady garlic scent and bright green goodness, these edible green grasses are just the thing for winter weary palates.
I always marvel at the thoughtfulness of nature. Just when my supply of homegrown garlic cloves has dwindled to nothing or sprouted into thin air, along comes the green garlic tops to keep my lighter spring recipes singing with the flavor of fresh garlic.
For me, the green tops have always been a wonderful passing thing like asparagus or fiddleheads: here for a short while, but gone for another year once the plant moves on through its life cycle. But my friend Simon [that's his hand harvesting the tops for me to take home] grows organic garlic and he dries the green crop so that he can enjoy the garlic essence and nutritional benefit all winter. If you have a food drier, you can do the same. I will add the powdered green garlic he gave me into soups, sauces and dishes like mashed potatoes. How easy it will be to have the fabulous garlic taste ready to scoop out and sprinkle over vegetable purées and melt into cream sauce or even to use at the table as a condiment.
I'm saving my dried garlic greens and guarding them like green gold. I transferred them to a dark glass bottle and keep them in a cool dark cupboard. One day in November, I will bring them out, add them to a root salad dressing or roasted vegetable dish and remember the day in April when I spent the afternoon with Simon photographing all the green things sprouting at his farm.
Meanwhile, here is what I did with the green tops. You can use chicken breasts or thighs for this easy, one dish meal.
Roasted Green Garlic Chicken
• 4 large chicken thighs, skin removed
• 4 carrots cut into 2-inch pieces
• 16 small tri-colored potatoes, halved or 4 potatoes, quartered
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary or sage or thyme (or a combination)
• 1 6-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained
• ¼ cup chopped fresh green garlic tops or chives, optional
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Arrange chicken, fleshy part up, in a shallow roasting pan or on a rimmed baking sheet. Distribute the carrots and potatoes in one layer evenly around the chicken thighs. Drizzle olive oil over vegetables and chicken. Sprinkle herbs evenly over all. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, stirring the vegetables once.
2. Stir in artichoke hearts and bake another 10 minutes or until chicken and vegetables are cooked. Serve, garnished with green garlic tops if using.