Jerome Carayol has a small stand at Lautrec market on Fridays selling garlic, eggs and the odd duck and chicken–his mother supplies the pigeons.
He tells me this morning, picking three garlic bulbs from a small pile as a gift, that he’ll begin lifting his pink garlic (l’ail rose de Lautrec) tomorrow or Monday.
For the last three weeks, starting early before the sun gets a hold, small teams–mainly youngsters–are employed in the fields working slowly along the rows of garlic, picking the scopes (the stem that develop into a flower) off the top of each plant.
Back-breaking work–but necessary to allow the plant to concentrate its final surge of energy on the bulb.
Now the farmers are beginning the harvest.
Garlic gath’rers pass,
Leaving the scent in the air;
It’s that time again.
Judy Bach asked for recipes on Facebook.
Here’s one, adapted from Skye Gyngell’s version in her book, How I Cook :
New season courgettes, cooked slow with the new garlic and mint–mushily delicious with a little kick from the chili.
This is for 4
2 garlic cloves–sliced thin
1 small dried red chili–chopped
a handful of mint (if you have it)-chopped
salt and pepper
1 tblsp olive oil
- In a medium pan, gently soften the garlic and chili in the oil.
- Add the sliced courgettes/zucchini and turn them over in the oil to coat them thoroughly.
- Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Turn again to distribute the seasoning.
- Cover the pan and cook for forty minutes on a very low heat.
- Uncover and fold in the mint, if you have it–which we have, but I forgot it!