In Season: Asparagus & Green Garlic with Tarragon

Our first CSA box arrived on our doorstep yesterday—our friends’ family-farm, Capay Organic, has a wonderful home delivery option called Farm Fresh to You. We’ve been off and on members of a couple of CSAs and they’re a great way to get to know a local farmer and support sustainable farming practices. We happen to have an incredible Farmer’s Market as well as a wonderful family-run grocery, Nugget Markets, (who also supports local farms) in town, so for us one of the particular perks of a CSA is being reminded to diversify our selection of fruits and vegetables. It’s an extra nudge to try some new recipes.

This week’s delivery was full of beautiful spring greens, including asparagus, green garlic, and tarragon. As it happened, I’d picked up a recipe card for a gratin featuring asparagus and leeks and a creamy Mornay sauce of Gruyère and Parmesan while in line to checkout at Nugget a few days earlier. I decided to modify it a bit, removing the bread crumb topping, and using the green garlic instead of leeks. It’s technically not a gratin anymore without the crust, but whatever you decide to call it, it’s a delicious expression of spring and would  be a wonderful addition at your table.


4 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons flour (For thickening, but I omitted this and used half heavy-cream and half-milk and mine was fine, too.)

2 cups whole milk

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 ounces Gruyère, grated

2 ounces Parmesan, grated

Salt and pepper to taste

2 green garlic

1 bunch asparagus, 1-inch bias cut

1/2 bunch tarragon

(Optional: 1 T butter and 3 T panko breadcrumbs)

To Make: 

Preheat oven to 450 F

Prepare garlic by removing the dark green tops and roots. Reserve the white and tender green portion. Halve each stalk lengthwise, slicing into thin pieces. Rinse well.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to combine.

Slowly add milk while whisking to avoid lumps and avoid scorching.

Add nutmeg and simmer over low heat for 5 minutes.

Remove sauce from heat and add grated cheese, whisking until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan. Add leek and stew over medium heat until just tender. Turn off heat, add asparagus.

Add about 8 ounces of sauce and toss to coat. Add more if you’d like a creamier dish.

Spread evenly into a low-sided oven-safe casserole dish (or individual ramekins).

Top with tarragon (be generous) and bake until the top starts to brown—about 10-12 minutes if in a single dish.

Optional: Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and mix it with Panko breadcrumbs, adding it before adding the tarragon, if you’d like a crunchy topping.

Best served immediately with a large spoon, but we kept ours at room temperature and brought it to a picnic last night and it held up wonderfully.

Tarragon has been a favorite flavor this past year. I’ll include some links to other favorite preparations below. Do you have any stand-out recipes using green garlic? 

P.S. The Farm Fresh to You CSA has a refer-a-friend program, so if anyone is inspired to try it, use my code for a $15 discount: ARZN5445

More in-season spring recipes, like this gorgeous shaved asparagus salad. Plus, two more ways to use tarragon: Over a citrus salad and in a verde-sauce over grilled meat.

Related posts:

Travel Guides

Browse By Category