I discovered Garlic Scapes about three years ago. Wow, a new vegetable to embrace. Within each hard neck garlic plant will be one garlic scape. It looks different from the rest of the plant since the scape is soft, flexible and curls If not individually cut from the plant it will eventually produce a small bulb of seeds that can be sowed to grow more garlic although it will take up to three years. Harvesting the scape is recommended to promote growth of the cloves not the seed head. The quickest way to grow garlic is to plant the cloves (in a sunny area) in November for harvest the following year.
Eating locally and in season has disadvantages. One disadvantage is that what you love and enjoy is only available for a short period of time from your local farmers’ market or grocery store. Garlic scapes is a prime example, asparagus is another. Their window is about 2-3 weeks. Eat often while available since you will long for it once all have been harvested.
If you are like me and absolutely adore garlic, I highly recommend The Complete Book of Garlic: A Guide for Gardeners, Growers, and Serious Cooks by Ted Jordan Meredith. You will not be disappointed. The pictures are lovely too.
• 12 large garlic scapes, more or less depending on size (should have appx. 1 cup chopped)
• 1 Tbsp. butter or ghee or extra-virgin olive oil – all healthy fats
• 1 clove of garlic (no such thing as too much garlic)
• 1/4 cup pine nuts or pistachios or walnuts (toast if you wish)
• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/4 cup freshly shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano or your favorite hard cheese
• 1/4 tsp. freshly grounded pepper
• 1/4 tsp. sea salt
1. Manually chop the garlic scapes
2. In a frying pan, melt 1 Tbsp. butter or ghee or extra-virgin olive oil – medium low heat
3. Cook garlic scapes until soft, about 3-5 minutes
4. In a food processor (or blender) drop garlic clove into spinning blades. Allow chopped garlic to rest 10 minutes to develop allicin, garlic’s active medicinal chemical.
5. Add pine nuts or pistachios or walnuts to the chopped garlic. Pulse to chop.
6. Add garlic scapes and pulse, scraping down sides as necessary
7. With motor running, drizzle in olive oil
8. Pulse in Parmigiano-Reggiano, scraping down sides as necessary
Add sea salt and freshly grounded pepper, season to taste. Or perhaps a squeeze of lemon juice. Trust me, you will know when the taste is right.
Serve over cooked pasta, spread on bread (sour dough leavened/fermented is easily digestible), add a scoop to soup, serve with meat, in an omelet, or tossed with cooked beans. What will you serve it with?
Feel free to make multiple batches to freeze for off-season enjoyment.
The sautéed scapes after preparation step #2 tossed with quartered and cooked new potatoes makes a fabulous side dish.