Green garlic appears during a small window in spring when the garlic bulb is beginning to form but is still tender. The garlic’s pungent oils are developing as well, so the flavor of green garlic is milder than when it is mature. The gentle taste of the young garlic infuses this simple yet elegant cream soup. Reprinted with permission from Le Vie Rustic by Georgeanne Brennan. —gbrennan
new potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
freshly ground white pepper (or black, if you don't mind specks)
Trim the stringy root ends and all but ½ inch (12 mm) of the stalks from the bulbs of green garlic. Peel away the outer layer from the bulbs and chop the bulbs.
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When it foams, add the garlic and shallot and cook, stirring, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the broth is infused and the garlic is exceedingly soft, about 4 minutes.
Place a chinois or fine-mesh sieve over a clean saucepan and strain the garlic broth, pressing on the garlic and shallot with the back of a spoon to extract the maximum flavor. Discard the solids. Return the strained garlic broth to the saucepan, add the potatoes, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are soft and easily pierced with the tines of a fork, about 20 minutes.
Using an immersion or upright blender, purée the soup until smooth. Over a clean saucepan, strain once again through a chinois or fine-mesh sieve, gently pressing against any remaining solids.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the purée to just below a simmer. Stir in the salt and pepper, followed by the crème fraîche. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Ladle the soup into bowls and serve at once.