Green Garlic and White Bean Tortilla

Finally...  I found some green garlic in the farmer’s market here in Boston!  Developing the artichoke, quinoa, and green garlic soup recipe for the Williams-Sonoma soup book was my first encounter with green garlic, and immediately I became devoted this spring (and in some regions, early summer) treat.  It is, quite simply, immature garlic, and its flavor is deep and round, yet remarkably mild.  Depending on its type and age, you can eat the entire stalk, from the white bulb to the tender green tops, which taste like gloriously garlicky leeks.  If the cloves have begun to develop, you probably won’t want to eat the lower portion of the garlic stems, which can have tough inner cores.

One of the most famous Spanish tapas, a hearty potato frittata called Tortilla Espanola, makes a great showcase for green garlic.  Potatoes cooked in extra-virgin olive oil are the classic filling, but here I borrow a Catalan variation that I read about in the fabulous food blog In Praise of Sardines, substituting white beans and adding some roasted peppers. 

Tortilla is easy to love because it’s lush, filling, sturdy, transportable, and intended to be eaten at room temperature – or even chilled, so you can make it ahead.  Note that you’ll need two large plates, preferably rimless, to help flip the tortilla midway through cooking.


Serves 6 as a light dinner or lunch, or more as tapas


  • 8 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons homemade or packaged low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 stalks green garlic, white and light green parts (or just the white cloves if they are clearly developed) and tender green tops thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can white beans, rinsed and well drained
  • ½ cup chopped roasted red bell pepper


In a large bowl beat the eggs, ½ teaspoon salt, and the chicken broth until uniform and foamy, and set aside.

In a medium (preferably 10-inch) nonstick skillet over medium heat, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil until it ripples.  Sauté the green garlic bottoms and all but 2 tablespoons of the greens, stirring frequently, until fragrant and just turning tender, about 3 minutes.  Add the beans and ½ teaspoon of salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 2 minutes.  Pour the bean mixture into the egg mixture and stir to mix.

Wipe out the skillet, add the remaining tablespoon of oil, return the skillet to medium heat, and heat until the oil ripples.  Add the egg and bean mixture, and using a heatproof, flexible spatula, gently push the beans into an even layer.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, without stirring, until eggs begin to set around the edges, about 1½ minutes.  Scatter the roasted pepper evenly over the surface of the eggs.  Carefully work the spatula between the cooked egg and the skillet sides and, going around the skillet, gently nudge the edge of the tortilla and tilt the pan so that uncooked egg runs into the gap.  When the edges of the tortilla have reset, again gently work the spatula between the tortilla and the skillet sides and gingerly shake the pan to loosen the tortilla.  Continue cooking in the manner until the top of the tortilla is slightly wet but not runny and the bottom is light golden brown, about 5 minutes longer.

Off the heat, once again loosen the tortilla by sliding the spatula between the egg and the sides of the skillet.  Slide the tortilla onto a large plate, cover it with a second large plate, and invert so that the browned bottom of the tortilla faces up.  Remove the top plate and slide the tortilla from the bottom plate back into the skillet (uncooked side down).  Gently shake the skillet to center the tortilla, and run the spatula around the edges to tuck and neaten them.  Return the skillet to medium-low heat and continue cooking, shaking the pan occasionally, until a toothpick or wooden skewer stuck into the center of the tortilla comes out dry, about 5 minutes.  Slide the tortilla onto a serving plate, allow it to cool for about 15 minutes, cut into wedges, and serve warm or at room temperature, sprinkled with some of the remaining sliced green garlic tops