David Latt makes a simple dish that can be amplified with any number of ingredients. –MB)
At the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmers’ Market — two blocks from the Pacific Ocean — we’re finding one of the treasures of spring: green garlic, thick as a leek and two feet long.
With fresh green garlic, everything is edible except for the outermost skin. The farmer I buy them from swears that even the roots are edible. With some trepidation I nibble on a root strand and am pleasantly surprised that it has heat and an intense garlic flavor.
Next to the stand with the green garlic is Carlsbad Aqua Farm where we buy our fresh mussels, oysters, clams, and scallops. The idea was obvious to me: green garlic and clams.
I have made it several times over the last couple of weeks, and the combination is always ready in ten minutes and infinitely flexible. Served with broth and sautéed garlic-parsley toast it’s the perfect appetizer. Add pasta or cooked rice and the dish becomes a complete meal. Stir in roasted tomatoes and you’ve got the beginnings of an excellent cioppino.
- 1 green garlic, washed, outer skin around the bulb removed, thinly sliced, bulb and greens
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon sweet butter
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 pounds butter clams, washed
- Sauté the garlic and parsley in the butter until lightly browned. Season with black pepper, add water and clams. Cover and cook 5 minutes over high heat. Transfer the clams that have opened to a serving bowl. Continue cooking any clams that haven’t opened for another 2-3 minutes. Discard any clams that haven’t opened.
- When you pour the broth over the clams, do so slowly so any sediment is left behind to be discarded. Serve with fresh bread.
- --Substitute white wine for the water
- --Along with the green garlic, sauté 2 thinly sliced shallots.
- --Tear apart 2 roasted tomatoes, remove the skins, add the pulp to the broth.
- --Add 2 cups cooked pasta to the broth.
- --Add 2 cups cooked rice to the broth.