Seems I’ve been talking a lot about garlic scapes over the past few years. Here, here and here for example. I’ve shown you how to do everything from wearing them as a fashion accessory to creating flower arrangements with them.
What I *haven’t* shown you is how to cook them. So today I shall rectify that. Yes. I think of the word rectum when I see “rectify” too. It’s because we’re immature.
I’ll start with a refresher on what a garlic scape is. Each garlic plant grows one garlic scape. It’s a round stem that grows from the centre of the hardneck garlic. In the early summer it shoots up forming a curly cue form the middle of the plant leaves. It has a small flower head on the end which, if left to its own devices will form a big flower.
BEFORE the scape turns into a flower you should cut the scape off of your garlic plant. For one thing because it allows the plant to distribute its energy to growing the bulb as opposed to the flower. And for another thing because you can eat those scapes. They’re a delicacy that only comes once a year for a very short period of time. Like fiddleheads or ramps. Or a really funny Saturday Night Live skit.
I’ve been using scapes for 2 things in particular this season. My favourite being, garlic scape pesto. The other thing I’ll tell you about in a post later this week.
A summery version of pesto made with garlic scapes and lemon juice.
- 1 cup rough chopped garlic scapes apx. 10 scapes
- 1/2 cup basil
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1/2 lemon juice & zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Toast pine nuts in a dry pan over medium/low heat for a few minutes. Toss them and turn them until they just start to brown.
Pulse first 7 ingredients in food processor or blender (everything but the oil) until everything is chopped up.
Slowly drizzle in oil with processor or blender running.
Serve over linguine. (you can heat your pesto in a pan first if you like)
If you want a brighter more citrusy pesto, use a whole lemon.
Leftover pesto can be frozen in an ice cube tray then transferred to a freezer bag and saved for a taste of summer in the middle of a frosty winter.