[The garlic scapes arrive in late June. They must sneak in during the night, because one day you look around the garden and suddenly all the garlics are shooting up scapes. I grill ’em, poach ’em, saute ’em, fry ’em, and give ’em away. They are serious freaks of nature. It’s hard to know where one scape starts and another ends. Put ’em in a vase and you have an instant arrangement that suggests the head of Medusa.
Cut the scapes so that the garlic can devote itself to developing its bulb. On an emotional level, however, this is the tipping point of the season. The eternal promise of spring has now given way to the finite reality of summer. Yes, it’s a time of full glory, but we are now heading to Fall and the harvest. SB SM]
from serious eats.com
But scapes offer more than a slightly rowdy alternative to garlic. Because of their substantial heft as opposed to garlic cloves, they are vegetable, aromatic, and even herb all in one. If you get some from your CSA, happen upon a giant pile of them at the farmers’ market, or snip them from your garden, don’t politely look the other way. Grab a handful and give one of these ideas a try.
1. Scape Pesto
Far and away my favorite use for garlic scapes is pesto, either straight-up or mixed with herbs like basil and dill. Pesto showcases raw scapes in all their glory. Scape pesto can be very pungent, but it mellows substantially after a few months in the freezer. I like it best in the middle of winter, but I think that’s one part mellowing and two parts deprivation. You can find my scape pesto recipe below.
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 3/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes (see note)
- Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- A few generous grinds of black pepper
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
- In a small, dry pan set over very low heat, lightly toast the pine nuts, stirring or tossing occasionally until just beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
- Combine the scapes, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse about 20 times, until fairly well combined. Pour in the olive oil slowly through the feed tube while the motor is running. When the oil is incorporated, transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese. If you plan to freeze the pesto, wait to add the cheese until after you’ve defrosted it.
2. Grilled Scapes
Another great, and very different, way to showcase scapes is to grill them, tossed with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, over direct heat for about two minutes. Flip them once, halfway through, and finish with an extra sprinkle of flaky salt and maybe a bit of lemon juice and zest. They’ll be charred in spots and just soft enough, and their flavor will have sweetened and mellowed dramatically. Grilled scapes are surprisingly reminiscent of asparagus, and surprisingly different from raw scapes.
3. Scape Hummus
For the same reason they work well in pesto, scapes are a brilliant swap-in for garlic in your favorite homemade hummus. I think they work especially well in a lemony, tahini-free hummus, which really gives them a chance to shine. Edamame “hummus” with scapes works nicely too, and color coordination is tough to argue with.
4. Scape Compound Butter
Scapes would make a lovely compound butter with a little lemon and maybe some fresh thyme. You could use the butter to make a tarted-up garlic bread, and I can’t think of much (except maybe fruit—I do have some boundaries) that could be tossed on the grill but not finished with a nice slice of this melting goodness.
5. Scapes as aromatic
To take a more utilitarian approach, you can slice scapes to whatever length you like and use them as you would garlic, as an aromatic in a wide variety of recipes. Scapes lose a lot of their bite when sautéed, more so than garlic cloves, so use at least three or four times as much scape-age as you would clove-age.
6. Scapes as Vegetable
Scapes also work well as a vegetable, cut into lengths and added to stir-fries or blanched and added to salads, much as you might use green beans. They’re chameleons among vegetables, I tell you, though not karma chameleons. Karma-wise, they’re all good.
7. Scape Soup
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point you toward Melissa Clark’s recipe for double-garlic soup, which uses both scapes and green garlic. If you’re not finding green garlic in the market anymore, you could improvise with a few garlic cloves and a handful of a pungent spring green like arugula or watercress.