The local farmers' market opened up for the summer season last weekend. I'm so happy the summer markets have started - my trip to the farmers' market is a big part of my Saturday morning routine and I look forward to it all week (as you have probably noticed if you come here often, I really, really like vegetables). At the last market, I picked up some green garlic, which I had not tried before. Green garlic is young fresh garlic that has not yet developed thick, papery skins around the cloves. The flavor is much milder than mature garlic, and you can eat the stalks and leaves as well as the cloves. I decided to make a pesto with my bunch of green garlic, using hazelnuts instead of the traditional pine nuts, and pecorino romano instead of parmesan. It came out really nice - flavorful and subtly garlicky but not enough to be hazardous to your breath. We ate it tossed with some asparagus and white beans, but it would also be lovely tossed with pasta, spread on hearty bread, or as a dip for veggies or crackers.
Green garlic pesto
1/2 pound green garlic, roots removed
3/4 cup finely grated pecorino romano cheese
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts
3/4 cup olive oil
Roughly chop cloves, stalks, and leaves from green garlic. Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until mixture forms a paste. Water or additional olive oil can be added if a thinner consistency is desired. Add salt to taste.