What's a vegetable .. and herb .. and an aromatic all at once?
There's a fun new game happening at our house on Wednesday evenings. How many things can you readily identify in the CSA bag? No looking it up .. no hemming & hawing .. a definitive .. straight up .. what is it?
If you'd have asked me a month ago I'd have been slightly cocky about the whole thing .. of course I know my leafy greens .. fruits & veggies .. piece of cake. Now? Ummm .. not so much
Case in point .. Garlic Scapes.
We both looked at them .. scratched our heads for an embarrassingly long time .. and then Googled
Turns out these brilliantly green .. wildly curvy .. long thick shoots .. spring from the tops of garlic plants. Their flavor that of mellow garlic .. while their scent is best described as a cross between garlic & freshly cut grass in the summertime
“Scape” .. is a botanical term that refers to a flower-bearing stem. Thus the flower stem of the garlic plant. They're mean to be cut .. ensuring the plant's energy can be fully devoted to forming the underground bulbs.
For years .. these funny green corkscrews were considered little more than a byproduct .. though today they're also being harvested to meet the growing demand for use as an ingredient
Although they don't need to be cooked .. one can .. but do it lightly .. as in a stir-fry.
It seems you get the most from garlic scapes by using them raw. Some ideas? Slicing them thin as additions to soups or sauces .. stirred into hot rice .. scattered over a salad .. or any other way one might scatter sliced scallions or a herb
Turns out they're also wonderful as the base of a chunky pesto .. which is how we used them this week. The Chef's first taste .. on fresh-out-of-the-oven bread .. “Wow! .. though I warn you .. it's got a garlic bite that may be a bit strong for you”
He was right .. forcing this spice wimp to get creative .. thinning it out to use as a salad dressing and over roasted veggies .. added to a morning frittata .. and as a spread on my lunchtime tuna salad sandwich
ps: If the garlic bite is a bit too much .. cut the amount of garlic scapes to 1/2 cup and use fresh herbs such as basil or dill for the other half
~ Adapted from The Washington Post .. here
Garlic Scape Pesto
- 1 cup finely chopped garlic scapes
- 1/2 c olive oil
- 1/2 c parmesan grated
- 3 Tbsp pine nuts
- 3 Tbsp pistachios
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- splash of lemon juice
- In a food processor .. combine the garlic scapes, pistachios, pine nuts, lemon juice, salt, & pepper. Pulse about 20 times .. until they are very finely chopped.
- While the motor is running .. slowly pour the olive oil in through the feed tube .. a little at a time until it's fully incorporated
- Adjust seasonings to taste