If you've been hoping to brush up on your stir-fry skills, there's no better time to do just that than now. Spring gives you the best opportunity with so many different vegetables to cook with—and they're all amazing in a stir-fry. There are green beans, broccoli, asparagus, and soon there will be peas, but in the meantime green garlic is what you should be looking for in the farmers' market.
With a much more subtle garlic flavor than mature bulbs, green garlic looks more like scallions or baby leeks. But if you can't tell the difference at the market you'll just have to smell them. The stalks are entirely edible, from the pale white bulb to the dark green leaves. Green garlic is great for soup or used as an alternative to regular garlic. But it's more interesting in a dish that keeps its integrity and makes it the center of attention and this stir-fry does just that.
The recipe also includes another oddity of spring-purple asparagus. Raw it has a glorious purple color but once cooked it turns dark green, losing that deep hue. If you can't find purple asparagus, double up on green. One tip for making this stir-fry: Make sure to have all the ingredients prepped in advance because you don't want to be slicing the asparagus while the garlic is burning.
Green Garlic, Asparagus, and Mushroom Stir-Fry
for the stir-fry sauce:
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup Chinese cooking wine
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
for the stir-fry:
3 tablespoons sesame oil (high-heat resistant), divided
8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into strips
1 tablespoon grated ginger (about 1-inch piece)
4 stalks green garlic, white parts chopped and green parts cut into 2-inch lengths
1/2 pound purple asparagus, cut into 2-inch lengths
1/2 pound green asparagus, cut into 2-inch lengths
8 ounces brown and white beech mushrooms
white rice, for serving
Combine the soy sauce, cooking wine, and toasted sesame oil in a small bowl. Pour half of the stir-fry sauce over the chicken and let marinate for 15 minutes.
Heat a wok to high heat and add 1 tablespoon sesame oil. Once oil is shimmering, add chicken and stir-fry until cooked and no loner pink, about 5 minutes. Remove to a bowl and keep warm.
Refresh wok with oil. Add ginger and chopped garlic whites. Stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add asparagus and stir-fry until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Add garlic greens and stir-fry until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add to bowl with chicken.
Refresh wok with oil. Add mushrooms and stir-fry until mushrooms brown, about 3 minutes. Add back chicken and vegetables, and pour over with remaining sauce. Keep cooking until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Serve with white rice. Yield: 4 servings.