What the HECK is a Garlic Scape?
What: Garlic scapes are a part of all garlic plants. The part of garlic that we normally eat is the bulb. Like other bulbs, if left unattended, garlic will sprout and flower. Before the flower opens, the stem of the garlic plant grows up from the bulb and curls, looking like a little green pig tail (if you use your imagination). Early in the summer, farmers have to clip this stalk in order to keep the bulb growing. Only recently has the use of this strange ingredient begun to grow in popularity.
Where: These strange serpentine vegetables are sold exclusively at farmer’s markets and farm stands. I have never seen them at the grocery store, and had never even heard of them until last summer!
When: Garlic scapes are available for only a very short period of time: 2-3 weeks in mid to late June and early July, depending on the year. Work fast, they just made an appearance at the Amherst farmer’s market last week and will be gone before you know it!
Why: They’re different! Garlic scapes have that same garlic flavor that the bulb does, but without the bite and with a completely different texture that lends itself particularly well to certain applications.
How: Possibly the best and most common use of garlic scapes is to make a garlic scape pesto, but they can also be chopped up and added to stir fries, sautéed mixed in with mashed potatoes or egg dishes for a subtle garlicky flavor, or roasted and eaten as a side dish.
Garlic Scape Pesto
6-7 garlic scapes, chopped roughly to fit in your food processor
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted or untoasted, your call
4-5 medium basil leaves
1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
juice from half a lemon
olive oil, about 3/4 to 1 cup
Place the 6-7 scapes, 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, 4-5 basil leaves, 1/4 cup Parmigiano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and juice from half a lemon in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse a few times until the ingredients are roughly mixed and chopped.
Now, with the processor running, slowly pour the olive through the feed tube. Keep pouring and processing until the mixture is a thick and spreadable, yet not completely smooth.
To store, transfer the pesto to a container and pour a thin layer of olive oil on the top to seal. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Serve pesto on crusty bread or mixed into spaghetti noodles with a bit of the hot pasta water added.
Makes about 1 cup of pesto
Recipe courtesy of http://www.mikecostoyo.com