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Ingredient Sun May 27 2007
If the well-stocked stalls at Evanston's Farmers Market is any indication, young garlics are now fully in season. On Saturday, almost all the produce stands boasted a pile of beautiful young garlic stalks. I wasn't quite sure what to do with them, but the pure white bulbs and the dewy green leaves were too much of an appeal to forgo, so I picked up a bunch from the stand of Henry's Farm, an organic farm in central Illinois.
If this were the tender flower stalks of garlic, I would lightly blanch them and marinate them with nam pla (Thai fish sauce) and sweet chili sauce. But as I cut the leaves, I realized that the leaves may be a bit too fibery for that. So I decided to make Chinese stir-fry. First, I made the sauce (a must for time-sensitive stir-fries): about 1/2 tablespoon of oyster sauce, 1/2 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 teaspoon of sugar, a drizzle of sesame oil and a pinch of ground black pepper. This is for two people.
Then I sautéed minced ginger in oil, and added thinly sliced carrots and garlic leaves. When the veggies are about done, I stirred in three eggs, and poured in the sauce, quickly mixing all the ingredients together. Even after cooking, the leaves still retained the green and garlicky flavor, but it was much more understated than the flavor of fully mature garlic bulbs. Served with rice, the stir-fry brought the sense of season (that's nearly lost in this era of global food distribution) to our lunch table.
Now I'll have to figure out what to do with the remaining bulbs; I might try slicing them into marinade, as I would onions, or even using them raw in a salad.