This recipe from Chico caterer Marianne Brenner uses several staples of the spring market: fresh eggs, asparagus, green garlic, and, of course, fresh spring herbs, which Marianne gathers right outside her kitchen.
Green garlic is subtle and mild, easy to use, and easy to sniff out at the markets. Green garlic bunches look similar to green onions or very small leeks. A slight purple tinge on the bunch and a quick sniff will let you know they’re green garlic. Both green garlic and garlic scapes are available in the spring. Garlic is planted in fall, and in spring, it sends up a long stem with a flower bud at the top. This “scape” or stem, as well as the bud, are wonderful to eat and cook with, since they have a mild garlic flavor. Full garlic bulbs form only if the stem and flower are cut off the plant so the plant’s energy can go into the bulb.
Green garlic is harvested during the spring ritual of thinning the rows. Pulling up some of the immature garlic plants leaves more room for adjacent bulbs in the ground to develop into heads. It’s these young plants that are bunched into green garlic.
If you can’t find green garlic for this recipe, use ½ cup chopped green onions in its place, sauté them until soft but not brown, about 5 minutes. Then add 3 or 4 cloves garlic, minced, with the asparagus.
Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl until blended. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Warm the olive oil in a medium-sized sauté pan over medium heat. Add the green garlic and sauté until soft, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the asparagus and herbs, and stir for 2 minutes. Add the beaten eggs and mix well. Raise the heat to medium and cook, without stirring, until the omelet is set and golden on the bottom but the top is still runny, 8 to 10 minutes. While the omelet cooks, run a spatula around the edge of the pan a few times, to prevent sticking.
Invert a plate on top of the pan, then carefully invert thepan and plate together. Lift off the pan and slide the omelet, browned side up,back into the pan. Cook the second side over medium heat until pale gold, about 3 minutes longer. Do not overcook, as you don’t want the eggs to be dry. (Alternatively, use a flameproof sauté panand slip the omelet under a preheated broiler to brown the top.)
Slide the omelet onto a serving plate, let it cool for a bit, and then cut into wedges to serve.
Edible Shasta-Butte is the guide to local food, dining, and gardening in Northern California’s central valley from Butte County north to the Oregon border.