Posted on | June 16, 2009 | 36 Comments |
Garlic spears are the flowery tops of the elephant garlic plant. Look how pretty they are! Raw spears have a really spicy garlic flavor, but it turns much milder once cooked. The more you cook the milder it gets! The texture is a little firmer than that of an asparagus, a little crunchy and tender at the same time. Garlic spears are in season now, and are available in some farmers markets and also at Asian stores, I got mine last week from Uwajimaya (my favorite Asian store). I was trying garlic spears for the first time, and what a treat it was!
Even though the bunch of spears came with instructions on how to prepare – they suggested a simple stir-fry – I was in the mood for some experimenting. Coincidentally I had just seen the Wild Garlic Pesto at Meeta’s blog, so the first thought that came to mind was Garlic Spear Pesto! It turned out so good with a really nice garlic flavor which wasn’t too overpowering at the same time it had that fresh grassy feel to it. It is hard to explain, but trust me it was one of the best pesto’s I’ve ever made. It went nicely with pan-fried trout, can you spot the light green pesto on the fish?
One of my quick-fix sides is a sausage-edamame stir fry with garlic, since I had both sausage and edamame in hand, I thought I will give it a try with garlic spears instead, another successful experiment. These went nicely with the trout, garlic spears will work very well in any recipe that calls for garlic I think, I would even cut these up a little smaller next time.
Since the stir-fried garlic spear had kind of the same texture as asparagus, next day I decided to combine the two and make some oven-roasted garlic spear-asparagus combo. I wanted to get the spears nice and brown which was a great idea, but the asparagus were overcooked and turned all stringy by the end of it. I should’ve added asparagus half-way-through instead of cooking both at the same time, or next time I’d just roast the garlic spears alone! The crispy texture and the delicate garlic flavor made this a great snack and the aroma that filled the kitchen while these were getting roasted was heavenly!
So, there it is, the three ways we had Garlic Spears! I will be trying these again for sure! Here are the recipes just for a rough idea, as the quantities noted are mainly just guesstimates. You can’t go wrong with these, just like with garlic!
Garlic Spears – Almond Pesto
- 3/4th cup garlic spears diced (just the green stalks, keep the flower buds aside
- 1/4 cup almonds
- juice from 1/2 lime/lemon
- crushed red chilies to taste
- salt to taste
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Place the garlic spears and almonds in a food processor and pulse to chop. Add the crushed chilies, salt, lemon juice and olive oil and process until smooth.
Note: The raw garlic spears are really spicy, so if you want to reduce the kick a bit, you could just place half of the stalks with a sprinkle of water in a microwave safe bowl, cover and cook for 90 seconds. This will make the flavor much milder, I would still add at least half of it raw for that spicy kick.
This is just a basic pesto, you can definitely add cheese if you want to, I didn’t have any in hand, so I didn’t use any.
Garlic Spear Stir-Fry with Sausage and Soy beans
- 2 sausages (any firm, dry kind would do), diced small
- 1 cup frozen soybeans (edamame), thawed
- 1 cup garlic spears, sliced lengthwise into 1″-2″ pieces, including the flowery part
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp oil
- crushed red chilies to taste
- Juice from 1/2 lime/lemon
Heat oil in a pan and add the diced sausages. Saute, stirring frequently till the sausages start to brown. Add the soybeans and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook till the soybeans starts to brown. Remove this and keep aside. In the same pan, add a bit more oil stir fry the garlic spears for about 3 minutes when they just start to soften. Add the fried sausage-edamame to the pan and add crushed red chilies. Stir well and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and mix well. Serve warm.
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