Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"What in the world do I do with garlic scapes?"

I heard that question about 700 times in the last two market weekends. It totally makes me cringe sitting here right now. lol... But it is a good question. Garlic scapes are one of those things that are at the market for about three weeks. In marketland, that is gone in a flash, and within those three weeks people naturally want to take advantage of the most local, most seasonal, freshest food available. For the last two weeks, garlic scapes have been it.

So what are they and what do you do with them?

Well, garlic scapes are the young flowers on the garlic stalk. If you leave them on the stalk, they will have seed garlic in them... which if you are wondering, takes two years to grow into a decent head of garlic. So most people don't plant garlic from the seed. They plant it from 1 year old cloves for a 9 month (instead of 2 year) harvest. So each season they will have the garlic flowers for harvest!

Enter scapes. Garlic scapes taste... well, they taste like green garlic. lol... They have that same spicy garlic flavor, but somehow they taste fresher... greener. If that makes any sense.

What do you do with them? Anything that you would do with garlic! Saute them with stir fry, saute them with butter and olive oil and eat them crunchy, chop them up tiny and put them on top of salad, bake them slathered with cheese, add them to roasted root veggies.... or puree them for a wonderful pesto like I did last night.

A little bit about this recipe: It took two tries to get it right. I underestimated how spicy these suckers were! They are not just mild little garlic flavored flowers... they are just as hot as the garlic that you use in cooking... about 5 flowers makes for 1 clove of garlic. The first time I made this recipe I have 18 or so scapes in the processor... that was not good. Burnt every ones mouth and the kids couldn't even eat it at all. Best to tone down the garlic if you are worried about heat.

Garlic Scape Pesto

5 - 10 garlic scapes
1 oz (small handful) basil
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup slivered almonds
sea salt

Cut up the scapes really well and add them to a food processor or blender with some of the olive oil. Process for about 2 minutes (I know... it's loud, you can stop if you like more chunky pesto. I like mine super smooth.). Add in the basil, cheese (get the good stuff if you can, but the freeze dried stuff works too), and almonds and process for another 2 minutes. Stop and taste. Add salt if you need and toss a generous spoonful with a plate of pasta. I topped with tomatoes. :)

I also found that it has a wonderfully sweet garlic flavor that makes AMAZING guacamole!

Here is the recipe I used today:

Guacamole with Garlic Scapes

4 large avocados
6 garlic scapes
2 small tomatoes
handful cilantro leaves
2 Tbs lime juice
3 slices large sweet onion

Add all but avocados in food processor or blender and process for about 1 minute. Mash avocados in a bowl and pour in the puree. Mix well and salt to taste. It was amazingly delicious. I may make some scape puree to save for other guacamole days.



Carolyn said...

You might like to use some of those garlic scapes in marinades -- just add olive oil, a few herbs, process then add to some meat to freeze. I try to buy my chicken in bulk when it's on sale -- and I'm left with how to freeze it all. I usually end up making three or four marinades so that all I have to do later is defrost and grill.

Your recipes sound great! I'll have to check and see what's in season at our farmer's market this Thursday. (It's a T-Th-Sat market.)

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Both of these recipes sound delish! Have you made salad dressings with them?

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Carolyn: I DID make it into a marinade! I got some really great chicken legs and theighs from the market on Sunday and I put the pesto in a plastic bag, added some balsamic and dropped the chicken bits in there. Hopefully it will turn out great, but I have to cook it to see.

Valerie: Do you have an idea for salad dressing using scapes? I would love to try one! I haven't gotten into salad dressings yet. The organic ones from my formentioned love (Trader Joes) work great for most of the time... but I bet they are more expensive than making my own. I should try it. :)


Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

hmm... I was thinking maybe like a vinaigrette? Maybe try some red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and some scapes in the food processor...?

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