Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Eat Your Roots: Baby Garlic

Fig.1. At Birri, you can by baby garlic in the pot or cleaned in bundles. They're not as strong as regular garlic, and the 'garlic' taste does diminish after it's cooked.

I for one am ready for some outdoor heat. It gets increasingly difficult to endure our frigid Quebec winters. Waiting for the various outdoor markets to open is like waiting for Christmas morning.
A visit to the Jean Talon market last week helped provide some hope that spring was finally here: potted herbs, potted salads, some fiddleheads, asparagus and Birri’s very succulent greenhouse cherry tomatoes are all in season and ready to be savored. It’s a very pleasing experience to be humbled with a new discovery. Vegetable man extraordinaire, Joseph, handed me some baby garlic, still in their pot, (Birri also has the garlic available cleaned and in bundles) and while there’s nothing new about baby garlic, Joseph explained to me that with this garlic, one eats the roots as well. Sold!

Fig.2 This is a somewhat dry pasta (pastasciutta) so drizzle with some olive oil at the end.

Spaghetti With Baby Garlic, Bacon and Olives.
Serves 4 to 5


1 pack (500g) spaghetti
5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 pot baby garlic, about 5 to 6 garlic plants, cleaned and chopped (Birri also sells these out of the pot and cleaned.)
5 slices of bacon, chopped
½ cup pitted olives
½ cup white wine
2 large fresh tomatoes, diced

Fig.3. Just run them under water to clean them, but a little dirt won't kill you.


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Pour a little olive oil in a large pan set over medium high heat. Add the garlic and the bacon and saute for 6 to 7 minutes (don't let your garlic brown, if it starts to, lower heat or add more olive oil.) Add the olives and the wine. Let the wine come to a simmer and reduce by half, about 10 to 12 minutes. Add the diced tomato and cook for another 2 minutes. Add the pasta directly into the pan with your garlic sauce. If the sauce is too dry, add some of the pasta water.

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