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27 May 2020

When we wrote about the garlic growing like a weed along the side of the house last month, we thought we were done with the subject. But not quite yet, we discovered.

Society Garlic. Nikon D300 with 18-200mm Nikkor at 80mm (120mm equivalent) and f8, 1/500 second and ISO 200. Processed in Adobe Camera Raw.

It turns out there's more than one kind of garlic growing around here. These delicate beauties are a kind of garlic too. They go by the name of society garlic, probably more for their regal color than their skunk-like smell.

Skunk is only one things they've been compared to. Smoking cannabis is the other. Police have actually been called, we learned, to investigate the cannabis smell.

We find it only a bit amusing that the regal plant has an unpleasant odor.

It's a perennial groundcover from South Africa named for Ryk Tulbagh, an 18th-century Dutch governor of the Cape of Good Hope. The full name is Society Garlic Tulbaghia violacea. That violacea refers to the purple color.

The stems are taller and stiffer than our white garlic. They do seem a bit more elegant, too. Although, you know, we're partial to the graceful purity of our short white version.

We'd like to think this concludes our discussion of garlic, but a friend was texting us for our garlic and clam pizza recipe the other day and it occurred to us how rare the combination is. You really can't order it anywhere. And if you try, someone is bound to slap some other ingredient (like pesto or tomato sauce) on it.

So we thought we pass on our recipe. Variations are encouraged.

We've made our own pizza dough using Roberta's recipe from the New York Times, which is not a lot of trouble. But when we're in production mode, we use Trader Joe's plain dough (we've done it with the herb one when they're out of plain).

When the dough has risen, we turn the oven on all the way. That will get it to around 500 degrees by the time we've assembled the pizza.

We put a can of whole clams in a bowl with chopped garlic, drizzle a little olive oil in there, add a pinch of salt and mix it all together. Sometimes we can't help sprinkling a little garlic powder in there, too.

We toss the dough out to about a foot in diameter and lay it on a floured cookie sheet, forming a nice circle that we spread a light coat of olive oil over and sprinkle a bit of salt on.

Then we usually go straight to shredded cheese. For a change, we swirl some simple tomato and basil sauce on the pizza before the cheese. White or red, you can make it either way.

Then we sprinkle our clam mix evenly over the cheese and add a little more cheese on top.

We slide the pizza into the oven on a cookie sheet and hold our breath for 12 minutes. When we take it out, we grind some fresh pepper on it and sprinkle it with Italian parsley, coarsely chopped.

We never make it quite the same way twice. But it's always good.

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