It’s early June and you’ve ventured to the farmer’s market to check out what’s in season. You see berries! Apricots! Artichokes! Zucchini! Zucchini blossoms! The last few bunches of asparagus! And a pile of wild, tangled greenery. Lucky you, it’s a pile of scapes! Garlic scapes to be precise—the flowering, green part of the garlic plant. While the garlic bulb lives underground, garlic scapes emerge from the earth, as if in a hurry. They seem to be more related to loop-de-loop roller coasters than a bulb of garlic, and yet they taste just like the white cloves that flavor so many of our favorite sauces, pastas, dressings, and aiolis.
So you grab a bunch and throw them into your tote, but what’s next? Garlic scapes are slightly milder than other members of the allium family, so they lend themselves to simple preparations where they can be highlighted and enjoyed.
Grilling creates a complex, smoky flavor and requires nothing more than a few ingredients—scapes, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Serve with a squeeze of lemon as a side dish for whatever protein you have on the grill. No grill? Roast scapes in the oven for a similar flavor.
A nice entry into the world of homemade pickling. Heat vinegar, water, salt, and sugar on the stove, and pour into a jar filled with scapes. Let them pickle for two weeks, then use them throughout the year as a briny addition to sandwiches or cheese boards.
Scape pesto brings the bright, fresh garlic flavor of early summer to pasta salads everywhere. If pasta salad is not for you, spread scape pesto on a sandwich or mix it with mayo to have a fancy scape aioli that will impress all your friends. Freeze scape pesto in ice cube trays and pop them in a freezer bag to have fresh pesto all year round.
Scapes in place of….garlic, scallion, onion, leek.
If you have scapes, but no garlic, use scapes instead. Sauté them as your aromatic and continue on with your life enjoying how wonderful you are at adapting to garlic-less situations.
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