|purple sprouting broccoli shoots, kale buds, pea shoots, ruby steaks mustard, baby kale, green garlic and chive|
its hard to believe that yesterday was the first day I got a whole salad out of the garden. everything seems a month behind at the moment, the spuds only just got their heads in gear, the over wintered cabbages are yet to form heads (will they?) and my peas just poked through the soil a week ago.
|the salad bed (from bottom left to top right): easter egg radish (with mixed leaves to follow), ruby streaks mustard, garlic, little gem, garlic, beetroot, snow pea and ruby streaks mustard|
this year I took a page out of joy larkom's creative vegetable gardening book and planted my salad bed with contrasting colours and texture, as well as planting the rows on the diagonal for visual interest. as you can see from the above picture its still has a bit more to fill out but the idea is starting to shape out.
|a small garlic shoot for thining and using as green garlic|
I only recently learned about green garlic (a.k.a wet garlic) as an ingredient. before the garlic reaches maturity the whole bulb and stem can be used, I picked mine very early as a thinning measure. its great in soups, dressings and marinades. the flavour is more subtle than mature garlic lacking the strong spicy edge. think: chives but better.
the great thing about growing garlic yourself is a) its super easy and b) you can have a go with green garlic in the kitchen. (I've only seen it one or twice in the green grocers ) the use of green garlic is starting to pop up more in cookbooks and restaurants lately, so if you don't grow you're own you might see it popping up at a good green grocers soon.
among the usual mixed baby leaf mix I've sown a few specialty lettuces and greens in my salad bed. the ruby streaks mustard has a nice spicy kick to it. contrasted by the snow pea, which is grown for its sweet tender shoots. I also threw in a row of little gems which I prefer to the larger cos lettuce, I find it hard to beat I nice crunchy lettuce leaf, i'm looking forward to cooking with the little gems too!
my purple sprouting broccoli just started going to flower, which is great because the flowers work well in salads too, the shoots seem to get more delicate and leggy just before they bloom too.
|i'm not claiming to be a tidy cook!|
for this green garlic dressing I went for a lemon based vinaigrette to add freshness to the garlicky pong of the green garlic. its a standard 1:3 ratio dressing, 1 part acid to 3 parts oil. with a small dollop of dijon mustard to emulsify everything together. the dressing will keep for a good while sealed in its jar in the fridge, try using it to toss cooked broccoli or carrots with before serving, or substitute the creamy dressing in a potato salad.
Green Garlic Dressing
makes 1 cup (240ml)
2 tablespoons finely minced green garlic
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- place all the ingredients in a jam jar with a sealed lid
- shake thoroughly until emulsified
- store any remaining dressing sealed in the fridge for a week or two