People lose their minds for ramps, and I get it. They are a very good vegetable, and the limited-time-only nature of the allium drives their appeal. But those things are expensive. Do not misunderstand me: I am very excited to eat the ramps in my fridge. However, the real garlicky, oniony, vibrant-hued, cost-effective MVP of early spring is green garlic.
Like scallions, green garlic is an absolute workhorse of a vegetable. The tender greens and barely-there bulb are harvested before it has time to become the iconic collection of cloves we know and love, resulting in a mellow—but still garlicky—flavor.
Because I am a lady of low birth and no breeding, that kinda onion-y, kinda garlicky, noticeably green flavor has always reminded me of a sour cream and onion Pringle, if that Pringle had been dipped in aioli. You can use green garlic just like you would adult garlic (soups, stews, braises, sauces), but you can also treat it much like you would a raw scallion (pesto, salads, garnishes, etc.). For my part, I like to sauté the lighter parts until they are soft, then whirr them together with some blanched greens for a fresh, savory, slightly pungent sauce that’s good on almost anything. (I literally ate half a cup of it on saltines.)
Another thing I like to do—and this is going to cause shouting—is add a bit of MSG. This really ups the Pringle factor, creating the ultimate snack spread. (Note: If you are concerned about MSG, please read this, but you can leave it out if you want to, I guess.) To make the Pringle dip, you will need:
Clean the green garlic thoroughly by rinsing it under cold water, making sure to get in between the leaves. Remove the dark green leaves from the light green and white portion, and set them aside. Slice the light-colored portions into rings, then sauté in olive oil over medium heat until they are soft, but not browned or caramelized. Remove from the pan and set aside. Bring a couple of cups of salted water to a boil, and prepare an ice bath. Once the water is boiling, add the leaves, and cook until they brighten in color (about 30 seconds). Plunging into an ice bath to keep them from overcooking.
Add both portions of the garlic to the bowl of a food processor (or blender), along with the water and 3/4 teaspoon of MSG. Blend until saucy, then taste and adjust with salt and more MSG if needed. Scrape it into a sealable vessel, and pop it in the fridge to a couple of hours to let the flavors meld. Serve the sauce on grilled seafood, seared meats, or on a crudité platter. Or dip some Pringles in it.