I once heard that Lady Diana said that anytime you see a bathroom, you should use it. And I’m telling you now that if you ever see green garlic, you should buy it. Green garlic looks like a scallion but is slightly fatter and has a touch of pink, and tastes like only the things you like about garlic, only sweeter. It’s really special, not the least of which reason is that it’s only around for a short time.
You can do anything with green garlic that you can do with regular garlic, but it’s best when you allow it to shine: saute it for a bit and throw it in a risotto or a simple pasta dish with clams or a generous grating of Pecorino Romano cheese. With mine, I made a puree of broccoli soup.
The soup was inspired by my now famous bounty of Chino vegetables as well as a puree of broccoli and cauliflower soup I ate at Angelini Osteria last weekend. When I asked Gino Angelini how to make the soup (because it was so good!), he said what he always says when I ask him how to make anything. “It’s easy. All you do is…” The soup, he went on, was nothing but a puree of broccoli, cauliflower, and spring onions. “Oh, and olive oil,” he said. He started to walk back to the kitchen when he turned around and added, chuckling a little bit: “A lot of olive oil.”
When a chef tells you there is a lot of olive oil in something, that means there is a criminal amount of olive oil in it. When an Italian tells you there’s a lot of olive oil in something, I’d almost say you are in trouble. When an Italian chef tells you, laughing, that there is a lot of olive oil in something, I don’t even know what to tell you.
Anyway, this is my recreation of Gino’s soup, but I used green garlic in place of regular garlic, because I could. I used less olive oil than I imagine Gino would, because I knew I’d be the one eating it.
2 pounds of broccoli, ends trimmed (but not stalks)
2 quarts vegetable stock
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
6 to 8 spring onions, chopped (white and green parts)
6 to 8 spring garlic, chopped (white and green parts; or 4 cloves garlic, minced)
1/4 cup minced fresh Italian parsley
Really good extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Maldon salt for sprinkling
Bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Cut the broccoli up into big chunks and drop it into the broth for 2 minutes, until it turns bright green. Use a slotted spoon to lift the broccoli out of the broth and into a large saute pan. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic, sprinkle with salt, and saute for about 20 minutes, until the broccoli is very tender and falling apart. Add the vegetable broth and use a stick blender to puree, and viola. Soup. Good and good for you. To serve, drizzle with the good olive oil, sprinkle with the parsley and a pinch of Maldon salt.