Green garlic butter on crostini. Picture: Andrew Scrivani/The New York Times
Green garlic season is fleeting.

For a month every spring, slender white-tipped stalks of youthful garlic appear in the market next to the scallions and young, newly dug onions. 

It can be hard to tell them all apart by looking, but the difference is obvious if you stick your nose near and inhale. 

Though not intensely pungent, green garlic still smells like its more mature brethren, albeit milder and earthier, with an herbal freshness.

Which is exactly the appeal. Green garlic has the spirit of regular garlic, but at a gentle whisper rather than an aggressive roar. It’s a springtime treat that you shouldn’t pass up if you see it.

And if you do see it, take home the stalks and put them in everything. 

If you want them sweet and mellow, sauté them with butter and oil, or roast whole stalks until caramelized. 

Green Garlic Toast (Serves 8)

Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Slices of crusty bread
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), softened
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 1/2 tablespoons chopped young green garlic stalks, white and green parts
1 tablespoon minced chives
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, more to taste
Large pinch red chili flakes
1 regular (not green) garlic clove, halved

Method

Heat the broiler. Place the bread slices on a baking sheet and broil them, flipping them halfway through cooking time, until golden on both sides. Keep warm.

In a bowl, stir together the butter, cheese, green garlic, chives, pepper, salt and chili.

Rub the toast with the cut side of the regular garlic clove, then spread with the green garlic butter. Broil toast for 30 seconds to 2 minutes, until the tops lightly brown and the butter melts. 

Serve hot or warm.

The New York Times