Using spring garlic is my attempt to counter-act all the Girl Scout cookies I’ve eaten this spring. For like those dreaded demonic Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, spring garlic comes just once a year and is a treasure to behold and enjoy, if just for a little while. But it's just a slight bit healthier than the Thin Mints.
What is Spring Garlic?
Bon Appetit tells us that spring garlic is a herald to spring. These immature garlic bulbs and their edible green stalks can be used in place of leeks, scallions, and shallots to achieve a light nutty onion flavor.
Too Green? Is There Such a Thing?
The first time I made this soup I thought my body would overload from too much green. I don’t know if that would indeed happen. I know I’m working towards testing the limits. Maybe I’ll end up as an online Buzzfeed headline: “Girl Goes Down from Eating Too Many Green Foods.” Until this happens, bring on the spring garlic. Bring on the spinach. And don’t forget the breath mints.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
½ to ¾ lb. green garlic, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
1 qt. vegetable or mild chicken broth
8 to 10 oz. spinach leaves
1 Tbsp. vinegar, balsamic or rice wine (optional)
Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
Add the green garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent. As the garlic cooks, the scent should shift from raw and sharp to sweet and mellow.
When the garlic is ready, add the stock, raise the heat a bit, and bring to a boil. Then adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Add the spinach, and immediately turn off the stove.
Let it sit to cool but be mindful to not let the green color drain out of the spinach. Then, working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender. (Be careful as hot liquid will expand when you turn on the motor.) The soup should be a rich shade of green and very smooth. Return the soup to the pot, and place it over low heat to rewarm gently. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve warm, hot or cold, with a splash of vinegar.
Feel free to pair with whatever Thin Mints you have left.