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This buttery galette makes the most of green garlic’s short season


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Welcome to another installment of the Don’t FOMO (fear of missing out) series, in which we encourage readers to jump on food and drink that’s available for only a short time in the Bay Area — or otherwise very hard to get.

Each spring, I look forward to the arrival of green garlic, one of my favorite vegetables. It typically starts appearing at my local farmers’ market in March, and it is available for just a few months of the entire year.

Beautiful, slightly pungent and very flavorful, green garlic is a young garlic plant whose bulbs are not fully matured. Farmers typically start planting the garlic seeds during autumn and harvest the crop in early spring. The plant has long, slender dark-green stems with mostly white, young bulbs that can sometimes have a tinge of purple.


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Green garlic is not new to me. Growing up in Mumbai, India, the allium was a frequent visitor in our kitchen, where my mother would prepare wholesome vegetarian meals. One of the dishes she prepared often in winter was Undhiyoo, a vegetable-loaded dish that originates from the western state of Gujarat. Undhiyoo is a medley of winter vegetables like sweet potato, potatoes, purple yam, baby eggplants, raw bananas and flat beans that is slow-cooked for over an hour in a paste consisting mainly of green garlic, cilantro, coconut, green chiles, lemon juice, sugar and salt. Green garlic is the ingredient that completes this dish and gives it a well-balanced, rounded flavor.

Green garlic perfumes the pesto in this galette, which goes well with a glass of Chardonnay.

Provided by Amisha Gurbani

I have the fondest memories of my mother waking up in the wee hours of the morning, prepping the vegetables and the paste, filling our home with the aromas of fresh, garden-y pungent green garlic. We would eagerly wait for lunchtime, when we would devour this dish along with hot, fried flatbreads, called puris, and a sweetened, fragrant strained yogurt flavored with cardamom, saffron, almonds and pistachios called shrikhand. This meal is truly one of my favorite combinations. The recipe for undhiyoo can be found in my cookbook “Mumbai Modern.”

While dried garlic bulbs have a stronger flavor and a punch to them, green garlic is milder and more spring-like in flavor. I use it to flavor pretty much any dish that calls for dried garlic, like the quintessential Indian seasoning, cilantro-mint chutney. I also use green garlic to flavor pesto, showcased in today’s recipe for a spring galette. Green garlic takes fajitas to next-level deliciousness and makes a fantastic cilantro-jalapeño crema for tacos.

While green garlic’s season at the farmers’ market is floating, it is easy to grow in your garden or in a pot with some good organic soil. Simply separate the cloves from a bulb of dried garlic and plant them in a pot, about an inch apart. Make sure they get adequate sunlight, and water daily. You will start seeing the green shoots sprouting after a few days, and full-grown stalks in about 8 to 10 weeks. You can start reaping the benefits and elevate any dish with the fresh flavors of humble yet mighty green garlic.

Amisha Gurbani is a Bay Area food writer, author of “Mumbai Modern” and blogger behind the Jam Lab. Email food@sfchronicle.com


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