Sunday, June 15, 2008

Garlic Scapes

Just noticed today that the garlic scapes are ready to harvest. They grow like graceful birds looping up out of the garlic plants, and seem to appear overnight. Garlic scapes need to be trimmed off, to encourage growth under the soil to the garlic bulb (rather than letting the scapes go to seed).

Turns out garlic scapes are also rather tasty, and can be used in a variety of ways for a delicate spring garlic flavour. Most popular seems to be the garlic scape pesto, of which there are abundant recipes on the internet listed on every organic CSA farm website that offers recipes (evidently, they must appear in most every CSA box as a spring offering and share members invariably ask what to do with these unusual looking greens). Other ways to cook include sauteing, chopping into stirfries, serving with eggs, grilling, adding to salads, and lightly steaming as you would asparagus. I've also seen a garlic scape hummus recipe, and have eaten them pickled at my friend Christine's place. Here's a tried and true garlic scape pesto recipe:

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes), top flowery part removed, cut into ¼-inch slices
1/3 cup walnuts or pinenuts
¾ cup olive oil
¼-1/2 cup parmesan
½ teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

Place scapes and walnuts/pinenuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. With a rubber spatula, scoop pesto out of bowl and into a mixing bowl. Add parmesan to taste; add salt and pepper. Makes about 6 ounces of pesto. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator, or freeze for longer storage.

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