Today I’m going to take a brief interlude from restaurant reviews to tell you about my new favorite ingredient—green garlic.
For those who have yet to discover its wonders, green garlic is essentially young garlic. When garlic plants grow, the bottom white bulb splits off into cloves and becomes what we know as traditional garlic, while the top grows into these long, scallion-like green stalks called scapes (which also have their own culinary merit). Green garlic is uprooted before it matures, before the bottom splits off into cloves. It looks like this:
Green garlic has this really wonderful mild garlic flavor, which gives dishes a great depth but without the potency of mature garlic (I still love you, though, garlic!). You can even slice up a little bit and scatter it on a slice of ciabatta bread with butter and a pinch of sea salt, that’s how mild it is.
I discovered green garlic for the first time when trying out a CSA, and fell in love. It’s great for flavoring oil before you sauté vegetables, scattering on a sandwich with prosciutto and tomato, or in the following amazing (and super easy, and super nut-free!) recipe…
[Note: It's nearing the end of green garlic season (this may even be the last week) so if you want to give it a try, hurry!]
For green garlic storage and selection tips, check out this article from The San Francisco Chronicle.
BLTs on Brioche with Green Garlic Aioli
Makes 6 sandwiches
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chopped green garlic or 1 regular garlic clove, blanched
- 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or coarse kosher salt
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise, divided [NOTE: This was way too much mayo for me. I would use your discretion about how much you want to add, observing the thickness of the aioli as you make it]
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 (3-ounce) packages thinly sliced pancetta (Italian bacon; about 30 slices)
- 12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices brioche or egg bread, lightly toasted
- 1 large bunch mizuna or arugula, torn into 2-inch pieces
- 3 beefsteak tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
For aioli: Blend olive oil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel in processor until garlic is minced. Add 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and blend well. Transfer to small bowl; whisk in remaining mayonnaise and lemon juice. Can be made 1 day ahead—cover and then chill.
For sandwiches: Preheat oven to 450°F. Arrange pancetta slices in single layer on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Bake until crisp, about 10 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain.
Place toast on work surface. Spread with aioli. Divide mizuna among 6 toast slices; top with tomatoes, then pancetta, dividing equally. Top with remaining 6 toast slices, aioli side down. Cut each sandwich in half and serve.