Garlic Scapes are a thing of beauty.
We haven’t known each other very long but I am already in love. We met last Summer. It was a beautiful day in June – a Tuesday actually. I always anticipated Tuesdays as a heaping box of fresh produce landed on my door step around noon every other week. This week was no different except when I removed the lid to reveal the glorious contents I found an item that looked quite odd. Citron green, slender stalks wildly curly with a small bud near the top.
I soon discovered that this – new – to – me ingredient was a Garlic Scape, the stem of a hardneck garlic. While the bulbs are busy maturing below the surface the young and mischievous flower stem curls. Young garlic scapes are tender and delicious. I often describe the texture to that of a green bean but the flavor is unmistakable – similar to mature garlic but much more mellow.
Last season I chopped my scapes in one inch pieces, sauteed in brown butter and added fresh sweet corn. Before I finished licking my plate the garlic scape season was over and I spent the cold winter months dreaming of that sweet garlicky taste that I didn’t get enough of.
This year is different. When Dorie posted a recipe for Garlic Scape pesto I nearly dropped the computer and began hunting them down for myself. I held off for a few days – in the meantime anticipating what I was going to do with my little mischievous curls.
The Farmer’s market was teaming with scapes. I grabbed three large bunches and headed home, munching on a pint of incredibly red and sweet strawberries to tide me over.
In a matter of a few hours the scapes were transformed into Pesto, pickles and pizza.
The first bunch I tossed in a bowl with a little bit of olive oil and sea salt. They sizzled on a very hot grill pan then finished in the oven on a bed of mozzarella cheese and whole wheat crust.
The second bunch was chopped up, tossed in a blender with lemon juice, roasted and chopped almonds, Parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt – making the most incredible pesto I have ever tasted. I followed Dorie’s recipe here (with an addition of lemon juice)
And finally – the third bunch is sitting on the pantry shelf pickling as we speak. This little project I am quite proud of as it was my first attempt at canning and so far I see no scary creatures growing in the jar. I call that a success.
Pickled Garlic Scapes
1 pound or more of scapes, whole
3 cups vinegar
5 cups water
¼ cup kosher salt
Fresh Basil Leaves
Boil the water, vinegar & salt solution. Pack hot jars with whole scapes, 1 fresh basil leaf, a pinch of chili flakes (depending on your spice tolerance) and then the brine. Put on lids, place in a hot water canner and boil for 45 minutes. Leave at least 2 weeks before serving to get best flavor.
I adapted the recipe from EverGreen Farms. With one bunch of scape I made 2 8 oz. jars and have an abundance of pickling liquid left ready and waiting for more scapes.
I hope to have many more scape experiments this season but I must act quickly as the season is very brief.
How do you eat your Garlic Scapes?
More Scape-tastic recipes: