The Hunt for Green Garlic

The hunt was on for green garlic. We earmarked three recipes for the upcoming week that called for the springtime delicacy. And a week prior, our Allium Invasion meal was supposed to include green garlic (blog posted April 7, 2016). When we couldn’t find it at any local grocery store, or Asian market, we thought for sure the Newtown Farmer’s Market would carry it this time of year. So one would think it would be easy to find in April, right? We figured wrong…

Green garlic is young garlic with tender leaves that is harvested early in the season before the bulb is fully formed. The easiest way to think about green garlic is that it’s baby garlic. It has a long green top that looks a bit like scallions, sometimes a tiny bulb at the end, and it may even be tinged with a bit of pink.

The immature garlic bulbs and edible green stalks have an amazing nutty-oniony flavor that is great fresh or cooked. The young, tender cloves don’t even need to be peeled before chopping. Green garlic is more mellow and less spicy in flavor then regular garlic, and can be used raw or cooked like scallions.

Serendipitously there was a produce stall in the farmer’s market that had some of the best and freshest vegetables we’ve seen. As soon as I spotted their leeks, I was smitten. The whites usually average six or so inches of the entire stalk, but these were nearly a foot and a half long—hardly any dark greens at all! So, even though we didn’t end up with the much-sought-after green garlic, we made quite a haul of fabulous produce for the week.

Yes, we do get excited about leeks that have large areas of white and light green.

Don’t judge. Even without one of the main ingredients, we went ahead and made the recipe anyway: Smashed Twice-Cooked Potatoes with Leeks and Green Garlic. Instead of medium Yukon Golds, we opted for the baby-sized potato, although not too minute. And, you guessed it, we had to use regular garlic—though that didn’t seem to bother us one bit.


You can steam and smash the potatoes in the morning if you’d like. The finished dish is great at room temp, and can also be reheated in hot oil again for another meal.


  • 2 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1/3 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 2 leeks, dark-green parts discarded, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 4 green garlic bulbs, white and pale-green parts only, or 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

We used small Yukon potatoes as opposed to medium-sized.

The directions indicate to cut the leeks into one-inch pieces. That seemed way too large so we made slices about 1/8-inch thick. 

Once cooled, the potatoes are lightly smashed.

Smashed potatoes are browned on both sides in oil in a hot skillet.

I added the leeks and garlic as soon as I turned the potatoes instead of waiting.

Lemon zest and juice are tossed well with the cooked potatoes and seasoned with salt and pepper.


  1. Steam potatoes in a steamer basket in a covered pot filled with 2″ water until tender, 15-20 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a plate; let cool. Press with your hand to flatten until skins split and some flesh is exposed (a few may fall apart).
  2. Heat half of 1/3 cup oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add half of potatoes; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until potatoes start to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add half of leeks and garlic; cook, tossing, until potatoes are brown and crisp and leeks are golden and soft, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Repeat with remaining oil, potatoes, leeks, and garlic.
  3. Add lemon zest and juice to potatoes and toss well; season with salt and pepper. Serve drizzled with more oil.

Recipe from Bon Apétit by Alison Roman

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