New garlic is a versatile summer treat.
Q Is there something special one can do with new garlic -- the type with the skin that's not papery yet and with the long green stalks?
A Now is the only time you could use the whole bulb, skin and all. And maybe even the stalk if it's tender.
Here are a few summer garlic ideas. Adjust seasonings to your taste and to your garlic.
• Purist's Pesto and Pasta. Use the whole head of garlic, skin and all. Purée a couple of heads with lots of young basil and a little Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or Asiago and good-tasting olive oil. Toss that with hot pasta, and some pasta water. With fresh lemon, the pesto becomes a dressing for anything you'd like.
• New Garlic and Almond Gazpacho: Whole heads puréed with lots of salted almonds, some olive oil and good-tasting coarse bread you've soaked in sherry vinegar and water give you Spain's pre-Columbus gazpacho (meaning no tomatoes). Thin it with water as needed and top with diced under-ripe nectarines for a tart, fruity finish. Warm smoky Spanish paprika in a little of the oil and spoon that over the fruit, too.
• New Garlic Picatta Table Sauce: Cut two heads of garlic into small dice and marinate in fresh lemon juice 30 minutes or longer. Toss with capers, a little lemon zest and olive oil and salt and pepper. Use as a table sauce for vegetables and fish, or top thickly sliced tomatoes and mozzarella or grilled meats. Add to pan as you finish sautéing chicken thighs.
• New Garlic and First Sweet Corn: Purée a couple heads of garlic with lime juice, salt, a little olive oil and chile to taste. It should be a thick, creamy sauce. Smear on plates and top with hot corncobs. Rolling the corn around in the garlic sauce gives it a taste like nothing else you've tried.
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