What's in season: Nothing more than an immature version of garlic bulbs, green garlic started out as the trimmings in newly planted garlic fields as plantings were thinned to give others space to mature. Green garlic can range in size from slender plants similar to scallions or Chinese chives, to thicker stalks with bulbs that are just starting to fill out. Because the plants are fresh and haven't been dried out (as with standard garlic bulbs), the flavor is much more subtle and less concentrated than standard garlic cloves.
What's on the horizon: The season's just beginning for strawberries, which are starting to show up at markets. The berries, including such varieties as Gaviotas and Seascape, will continue to improve, with more pronounced flavor and increased sweetness as the season peaks, starting in April.
What to cook: Green garlic has all the aroma of its more mature version, but with a delicate, more mild flavor. Slice or chop slender stalks and add them fresh to a salad or use as a garnish, or quickly wilt and add to a vegetable or rice dish. Peel away any dry outer layers of thicker stalks, and cook the garlic slowly in butter or olive oil for a quick sauce to serve over fish or pasta.
CHICKEN FRICASSEE WITH SPRING VEGETABLES
Total time: About 1 hour | Serves 4
Note: You can have your butcher cut the chicken into 8 pieces (excluding the wings, which you can reserve for another use, such as making stock).
1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons good-quality olive oil
2 medium leeks, white part only, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4 -inch slices (about 1 cup)
1 medium fennel bulb, cut crosswise into 1/4 -inch slices
3 cloves green garlic, thinly sliced
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
8 small spring onions, whole with about 2 inches of greens
8 baby carrots (assorted colors), scrubbed and halved lengthwise
1 cup fava beans, shelled
1 cup sugar snap or English peas, shelled
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1. Quarter the chicken, removing the wings and the back (you can reserve these for making stock) and keeping the bones intact. Cut the thighs from the legs and cut the breasts in half through the ribs; you will have eight pieces. Pat the chicken dry, then season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat the oil in a 6-quart heavy-bottom lidded casserole and brown the chicken pieces over medium-high heat, turning them over so that they brown evenly, about 15 minutes.
3. Remove and reserve the chicken. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of excess oil from the pan. Add the leeks, fennel, garlic, rosemary and spring onions and saute over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
4. Return the chicken to the pan, along with any accumulated juices, and add 2 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover and cook until the chicken is done, about 20 minutes. Stir in the carrots during the last 15 minutes of cooking.
5. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch the favas for 1 minute then cool in an ice bath. Drain and then peel. Set aside.
6. When the chicken is cooked, remove the pieces and keep warm. Discard the rosemary. Add the peas and simmer uncovered for about a minute over medium-low heat.
7. To finish, add the favas, half of the parsley and yogurt to the pan of vegetables and broth, stirring to combine. Check for seasoning. To serve, spoon two pieces of chicken into the middle of each soup plate, then ladle the vegetables and broth around the chicken. Top with the remaining fresh parsley.
Each serving: 640 calories; 60 grams protein; 25 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams fiber; 33 grams fat; 10 grams saturated fat; 213 mg. cholesterol; 800 mg. sodium.
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