Garlic as a Vegetable

garlicThere is quite a bit of folklore surrounding garlic, touting it’s health benefits and even it’s ability to ward off vampires. Regardless of whatever magical powers it may possess- real or imagined, let’s talk about garlic it is most simple quotidian form- As a vegetable.

On the farm, our garlic crop is one of the most anticipated and revered. It takes up a lengthy stay in the field, going into the ground in the late fall and stays in there until mid-summer. In early spring the pointy green garlic plants send up their spirally scapes that offer a succulent taste of what’s to come later in the year. We carefully weed and tend to the rows, so there is little competition for the bulbs to grow large and fat and count down the days until we pluck them from the soil to dry. This year, the crop is looking beautiful.

Many of us use garlic as a supporting character for our dishes. Crush, dice, slice, it’s more often used as a spice than as a main ingredient. However, garlic can offer some great meals when given center stage as the main vegetable. One staple in my house: Spicy Garlic Pasta. Using a whole head, I chop the garlic into thin slices. Sometimes, I add a finely diced shallot or some white onion. Sauté with salt, pepper, butter and olive oil until translucent. Pour in some white wine and cook down. If you like things spicy, throw in some chili flakes. Throw in your pasta of choice and some coarsely chopped fresh parsley (a favorite, but another underused item in my opinion). Toss and serve. Avoid any close contact and words that start with “H” for a couple hours.

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