Photo from Clotilde Dusoulier, French food writer based in Paris who blogs at ChocolateandZucchini.com.
Chances are when you think of fresh garlic, you picture heads of dried whole garlic, their cloves hidden within papery husks. In the spring, though, some farmers, including JP and Sally offer new garlic, which will be in Glade Road Growing's farm share for June 27. (This is not the same thing as "green garlic" which is picked earlier before the bulbs have swelled when farmers want to thin their rows.)
Dusoulier describes ail frais (fresh garlic) or ail nouveau (new garlic) as "subtle and vibrant." She suggests that if it is tender, the stalk part can be sliced off and used as you would a section of leek, sautéed with other vegetables or in a soup or broth.
As for the thick ribbed skin that encloses the cloves, she slices it slice thinly and uses it as she would an onion.
Both of those parts can kept in an airtight container in the fridge for a few days before using, or minced and frozen.
She turns the fleshy, waxy membrane,into a cream of garlic. To do this she brings water to a simmer in a small pan, throws in the membranes, and drains them as soon as the water comes back to a simmer. She lets the membranes cool and drain for an hour or so, then processes them with half their weight in extra virgin olive oil and salts to taste. The resulting butter-colored, mayonnaise-like spread can be added vinaigrettes and other salad dressings, blended into a stir-fry of vegetables as a finishing touch, or dolloped onto bread, fish or meat.
As for the actual cloves, she suggests you keep them in a ramekin in the fridge door, to slice thin and either fry them until golden in a little oil, to be set aside and added back into dishes, or used raw in salads.
Or, if you like, use the new garlic cloves in the Greek spread skordalia, as suggested at the London blog VegetableoftheWeek.com. He calls new garlic "moreish," the British term for food that makes you want to eat more.
By the way, JP suggested I provide a recipe for garlic butter, so here it is:
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon minced new garlic