If you are keyed in to local food in Maine right now, you are probably up to your ears in garlic scapes. Which are these funny little green snake-like fronds that I have never seen in a grocery store. You can find them at farmer’s markets wherever anyone is growing garlic. They are the shoots from garlic (more about them here if you are interested), and they’re only out for a couple weeks, but they are quite delicious. Garlicky, but fresher.
You will not be surprised to hear that I make them into pesto. Well, pesto is really the best thing to do with them, although I’ll include a few other suggestions at the end.
If you’ve been following me, you should know how to make pesto by now. But I’ll throw on a recipe anyway just in case. I like to make is with pistachios rather than pine nuts because they’re a little sweeter. And if you don’t like a strong bite you can cook them just a tiny bit before grinding them up (I wouldn’t though – part of the fun is the sharpness. And it will mellow out with time. Or if you warm it up at all).
Garlic Scape Pesto About 15 garlic scapes, trimmed Olive oil About 1/4 cup pistachios, hulled and roasted About 1/4 cup hard cheese (I recently used an aged provolone) Salt
Start by putting the scapes in a food processor and grinding them up a bit by themselves. They can be a bit hard and might take longer than the other ingredients. Then add everything else and blend, tasting, adjusting, and blending more as needed.
This is particularly good on pizza. And of course edible on pasta and a huge variety of other things. Freeze whatever you don’t use to be a ray of sunshine in the winter.
You can also mix in some kale to make kale-scape pesto!
Pesto is all very nice, you might say, but what else can I do with these things?
Try cooking them. They taste shockingly sweet and make a nice side dish (whether grilled or sautéed), maybe sprinkled with some fancy salt and olive oil or a little cheese (this is sounding a little too much like pesto ingredients…).
Pickles! I am giving this a shot. I used this recipe although I have never pickled anything before in my life. And I don’t even like normal pickles, one of the few foods leftover from my childhood picky-eater-ness. But, I’m super excited about these.
Put them in things. Omelettes (nom), other veggie dishes, salad dressings, salads, humus, egg salad, on pasta… whatever you would do with either garlic or asparagus. Which are not that similar. All part of the Amazing Scape Versatility. Aren’t they fun?
More suggestions here.
UPDATE: Food52 also published some great suggestions, find them here.