Friday, February 29, 2008

February 29: Potato and Green Garlic Chowder

It's the last day of February and I have a hard time with the whole Leap Day thing. I mean, come on. If this were really a day, wouldn't we have one every year? This should be like, a bonus day or something, where we all sleep in until noon and nothing that we eat counts for calories or fat. That's a Leap Day I could get behind.

Anyway, it's almost March, which means spring vegetables are coming. Artichokes, asparagus, ramps, spring onions, and green garlic mean nice, light, balanced pasta dishes, sides, and appetizers, like asparagus with prosciutto in puff pastry and artichoke risotto and penne with green garlic and ricotta. Well, that last one might not be light exactly, but it is springy.

Green garlic, if you've never run into it, is an early spring treat if you have a great farmer's market. It's available from March to May and it's got a delicate garlic flavor, without the bite of raw regular garlic.

The Los Angeles times has a recipe for Potato and Green Garlic chowder, to which I say oh hell yes. Keep an eye out for these sprouty veggies; this sounds so worth having. Serves 4-6.

Potato and Green Garlic Chowder

1/2 pound green garlic
1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar
Black pepper
Good olive oil
Grated pecorino Romano

1. Trim the root ends of the green garlic and the very tips of the green leaves if they are dried out. Cut the green garlic crosswise in thin pieces. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and then into about half-inch pieces. Place them in a bowl of water to prevent coloring.

2. In a large saucepan, combine the butter and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring roughly until the butter melts and the onions turn soft and creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and the green garlic, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the mixture is fragrant, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the potatoes and turn them in the garlic mixture. Add the broth and salt, increase the heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Loosely cover and cook at a quick simmer until the potatoes are soft enough to be smashed with a fork, about 20 minutes.

4. Coarsely purée the potatoes and garlic. This is most easily done with an immersion blender but can also be done in a food processor or blender if you're careful to pulse quickly. The mixture should be chunky, not a smooth purée.

5. Add one-half teaspoon sherry vinegarand a generous grinding of black pepper. Taste and add more salt, pepper or vinegar if necessary. Return to the pan and simmer another 5 minutes. This makes about 7 cups of soup.

6. Stir briskly just before serving. Ladle into warm serving bowls, drizzle with a thread of olive oil and sprinkle over 1 to 2 tablespoons grated pecorino Romano.

1 comment:

merseydotes said...

Is green garlic the same as a garlic scape? We got those from our CSA last year and could never figure out what to do with them.