If you're stopping here from a link in my blog post about planting garlic in the fall, you'll know all about scapes. If not, let me enlighten you a bit about this interesting culinary ingredient.
The garlic scape is actually the flowering shoot of hardneck garlic. Or at least, that's what it is destined to be, until methodical gardeners enter the scene with pruners in hand. Letting the stalk grow and flower would weaken the garlic bulb, so the scape is always eliminated. Not long ago, the scape would then offer it's flavorful delights to the compost pile, but not anymore. The scape has a delicious but less intense garlic flavor, and is excellent to use in cooking just about anything you enjoy adding garlic to. In our house, it finds its way into eggs, soup, meat dishes, and pesto. We tend to keep it in the fridge and add it to dishes during cooking, or puree it with olive oil and freeze it in ice cube trays for easy portioning. If that doesn't give you enough ideas, here are a few more.
Garlic Scape Pesto / Hummus Dip
This was a huge hit at a family party. Note that only a couple recipes I found on the Internet point out that you should cut off the scapes below the bulge where the flower bud begins, and only use the tenderest part of the scape. Use the tops as decorations for the pesto / hummus dip. In the recipe certain ingredients are not essential but enhance the result, making it smoother, richer or both. You may omit the spinach or pine nuts, for example, if you don't have them, but they are nice touches.
1-2 cups of garlic scapes
1-1 1/2 lemons
1 can chickpeas, drained.
1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1-2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons salt
2-3 cups "tender" greens such as spinach, arugula, spicy greens mix
2-3 tablespoons sesame tahini
1 cup or more finely grated parmesan or romano cheese
1 cup pine nuts
Remove tops from 1-2 cups of scapes and reserve as decorations; cut in 2 in. lengths. Process with 1/2 - 1 cup olive oil in food processor for 2-3 min. until finely chopped.
Add drained chickpeas.
Add 2-3 tablespoons sesame tahini.
Add juice of 1 - 1 1/2 lemons, seeds removed.
Add 1/8 - 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste. You (I) want it to have an edge, but not to be overtly "Hot."
Add 1-2 teaspoons salt - I use kosher, but any will do. Salt to taste, not too much.
Process until chickpeas are finely ground.
You may want to taste at this point to see if more cayenne is needed. Note that the sauce will "heat up" as it sits.
Add 2-3 cups spinach or spicy greens or arugula, whatever you have, for more green color and to lighten the hummus. Process until finely ground and well integrated in sauce.
I also added 1 cup finely grated parmesan and a cup or so of pine nuts, also all ground in for another minute or two.
Lemon Scented Pasta with Garlic Scapes and Veggies
(Serves 2 as a main course or four as a side dish)
1/3 box of spaghetti
5 or 6 garlic scapes sliced thinly
6 Sun dried tomato halves sliced thinly
Â¾ cup fresh corn
Â½ cup flat leaf parsley
Zest of one lemon
Juice of one lemon
1 cup chicken stock
Cook the spaghetti till al dente and set aside.
Sauteeâ€™ scapes and tomatoes till fragrant then add the corn, parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice and simmer lightly.
Turn the heat up a bit; add the chicken stock and pasta and toss everything to coat and until the sauce is slightly thickened.
Serve garnished with additional parsley.
I am Laura; lover of plants, fan of words, drinker of wine, practitioner of yoga, planner of schemes, and conductor of the family crazy train, Check here for gardening tips (because I can't stand the word "hacks"), harvest recipes, and crafty projects.