At the allotment recently we noticed we must have left a few garlic bulbs in the ground last summer - they were popping up again like little bunches of spring onions. With each clove in the bulb now growing separately, they wouldn't have space to form decent bulbs packed together like this. But this 'green garlic' can be lifted and used just as it is.
Green garlic has a milder, sweeter flavour than mature garlic bulbs, without the bitter edge. Apparently you can occasionally pick it up at farmers markets and posh greengrocers and it's becoming a bit of a trendy ingredient! Some gardeners plant extra garlic just so they can get some early in the season.
I'd never used it before, but wasn't going to pass up the opportunity now. With quick reference to a few online recipes, I sautéd seasoned chicken until just golden and threw in the whole bunch of green garlic, white and green parts, chopped finely, with a knob of butter and a splosh of wine. I cooked this for five minutes or so, finished it off with a splash of cream, and served with spaghetti and purple sprouting broccoli.