The garlic bulb you know and love reveals itself in the spring garden as “green garlic” or “spring garlic” (this link goes to Food52 – great tips and recipe suggestions). Depending on when the farmer picks, you will find “green garlic” in phases from scallion-looking stalk to young bulb with cloves – all are great for cooking. I’m still waiting for mine to peek up out of the soil here in Montana, but if you live in a warm climate, you may be seeing them already. Nevertheless, get psyched to cook with these babies, they provide a mellow garlic flavor and are a beautiful way to connect to spring.
“Garlic scapes“will come later, maybe even early summer, when farmers cut off the bulb’s flowering stalk – a treat for us cooks and eaters, and essential for the formation of a robust, flavorful head of garlic.
Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips
- Roast the squash up to 4 nights in advance of making the soup. (Whenever you are using the oven to roast a chicken or something else that takes some time, pop in a squash so that you can have it roasted and ready to use — either that same night or 3 – 4 nights down the road.)
- Penzey’s Spices is a reliable resource for flavorful curries; I especially like their Maharaja.
- Ghee is butter that is cooked gently until the milk solids separate to the bottom of the pan and start to brown, giving the “clarified butter” a slight nutty taste. Ghee is used in Indian cooking and Ayurvedic principles claim that ghee is good for mental clarify, healthy skin and good digestion. I like its flavor and high smoke point, which makes it great for sautéing.
- Best coconut milk: Chaokoh
- 1 Kabocha squash, rinsed with water and roasted in advance (see Step 1 below)
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
- 1/2 green garlic head and tender light green stalk (peel off any papery outer layer), finely minced
- 1 tablespoon ghee
- optional: a jalapeño or other hot chile pepper, seeds removed and flesh finely diced
- 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon Maharaja curry
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- Serving accompaniments: plain yogurt, dried mango, cashews
- Roast the squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut off stem end with a sharp chef’s knife. Microwave the squash for 30-60 seconds to soften slightly, then cut it in half and remove and discard the seeds. Place each squash half, cut side down, in a glass or ceramic baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, until tender.
- Melt the ghee in a large saucepan and add the onion, garlic, and optional chile pepper. Gently cook over “medium” heat, stirring now and then so that the onions soften but do not brown.
- Sprinkle in the spices and salt, and cook for a minute. Add the coconut milk, water, and flesh from the roasted squash (use a spoon to scoop the squash from the rind, discard the rind). Stir to combine, then simmer gently 15 – 20 minutes to develop the flavors, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt, a few strips of dried mango, and some cashews.