That day we dug carrots and picked lettuce and spinach for her photos. Those went into a salad, which I served with Elephant Pie. Elephant Garlic Pie, that is. I like elephant garlic as a vegetable, it has a mild, sweet flavor that works well in all sorts of dishes. Even steamed and buttered, it's delicious.
Elephant garlic, you may not know, was first introduced to the gardening world by our friends at Nichols Garden Nursery in 1941. (Someone later gave Luther Burbank credit, but the documentation is clear, the first elephant garlic, along with the name, started with Nichols Garden Nursery in Albany, Oregon.
Areas of the famous Willamette Valley, known for its mild climate and amazingly fertile soil, was settled partly by immigrants from Czechoslovakia and Northern Yugoslavia. Mr. Nichols discovered that some of these folks were growing a gigantic variety of garlic, mild in flavor and vastly different from any garlic he had ever seen. The immigrants had brought this unusual garlic with them from the Old Country. He purchased 12 pounds as seed stock in 1941 and began cultivating it. When he finally had enough to sell, he began advertising in newspapers and magazines. In 1953 he gave it the name, elephant garlic. Back then, he was the only one selling it and when you ordered elephant garlic from Nichols, in your order you received a little pamphlet with growing and storing instructions. He sold elephant garlic across the U.S., Canada and to many places overseas.
|The original pamphlet that accompanied orders, in 1953
Elephant Garlic Pie5-6 cloves elephant garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 cup diced, thinly-sliced ham (leave it out if you don't eat meat)
1 tablespoon cooking sherry
1/4 teaspoon any brand hot sauce
2 green onions, diced
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Saute the sliced elephant garlic in olive oil or butter until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Beat the eggs and milk together; add the cooking sherry, hot sauce, green onions and salt and pepper.
- In a oiled pie plate, layer the garlic, cheese, spinach and ham, then pour the egg mixture over. Dust with a bit of paprika if desired.
- Bake until a knife inserted comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Let set for 5 minutes before serving.
|Freshly-baked sourdough bread is simply delicious!