Lettuce and radishes. The garden is not yielding up much else at the moment. So what could I post for this week’s Garden-to-Table Challenge at Greenish Thumb? Well, yes, there are perennial herbs – tarragon, garlic chives, “regular” chives, various thymes, sage, various mints, sorrel (can’t decide if this is a herb or a vegetable) and the occasional volunteer coriander/cilantro (not a perennial, but an enthusiastic self-sower). Maybe a herb omelette? No, wait, there’s green garlic. I’ve written about purposely-planted green garlic before, but this week’s particular green garlic sprouted in the garden from some cloves left-behind last summer. I let it grow for a while until I needed its garden real estate for something else and then this week I dug it up.
Gambas al Ajillo is one of our favorite Spanish tapas. It’s such a simple thing to make that I often overlook it when thinking of dinner menus and blog posts. So I had this green garlic that I dug up and I needed a dinner idea … I wondered how Gambas al Ajillo would taste with green garlic … and I can now tell you that it’s delicious. Here’s how I made it. My recipe is non-traditional in that I add shrimp-shell broth to the garlicky olive oil.
For 2 people as a main dish, peel and devein 1/2 pound of medium-sized shrimp. Do this a bit ahead of time because you are going to make broth from the shrimp shells, as follows – place shrimp shells in a saucepan, add about 2 or 3 cups of water and simmer the shells for at least half an hour. Slice about 3 stalks of green garlic crosswise, green tops and all (slice the leafy green top thicker than the more solid parts of the stalk). Heat a generous amount of olive oil (2 to 3 tablespoons or even more) in a 10″ sauté pan. When the oil is hot, add a dried bay leaf, and a few dried red chile peppers (to your taste, but we like it spicy). Let those sizzle for a few seconds, then add the sliced green garlic and let that sizzle until it smells good (a couple minutes or less). Then add the shrimp. Stir until they start to turn pink. Sprinkle on salt to taste. Spoon a bit of the shrimp broth into the pan. You don’t want it watery – just enough to lighten up the olive oil somewhat and create a sauce for sopping up with crusty bread. The whole broth thing is completely optional and not at all traditional, but we like it because it gives us more sauce. Pour the whole contents of the sauté pan into a broad shallow bowl (a big soup plate works) and serve with thick slices of a a good crusty not-too-heavy bread – baguette is good, but slice very thickly; ciabatta is even better.
Sorry about the lack of visuals with this – I didn’t plan to write it up when I made it. But here’s a preview of coming attractions.