Summer has officially arrived, with plenty of rain, bits of chill and oppressive heat. It’s all good, because who am I kidding? I will take that over freezing cold and snow any day of the week. I am finally done with my breakneck Spring catering and looking forward to some fun farmers market demos and summer cooking classes at Hilltop Hanover Farm, over the next couple of months. Starting this morning as I head to the Port Chester Farmers Market . Just like the fiddlehead ferns and ramps of April I look forward to garlic scapes in June. They are another of Mother Nature’s seasonal wonders that only appear for about a month. Garlic scapes are typically found at a farm stand or at the farmers market. I did spot them at my local Whole Foods as well. They are the flowering portion of the garlic plant. Removed at the end of April to help promote growth of the bulb for late summer.
Similar to onions and garlic they are what I call “the supporting actor” in the play. They help the star of the show, in this case your dish, shine. You generally don’t eat them on their own as they have a pungent, sharp bite of onion and garlic. Garlic scapes like to be blended into dishes to bring out the great flavor.
When purchasing garlic scapes you want to look for a very smooth, solid stalk. They will actually last for several weeks in your ‘fridge as long as they are free from dampness. They best way to store them is a zip lock bag unwashed, and not completely closed. You can wash them thoroughly before using. Another option is to pre-slice and freeze. Last, if making a pesto you can freeze the finished product into cubes using an ice cube tray. That will ensure use through the winter months.
You can simply Google “garlic-scape-recipes” and see hundreds of options. I have a couple of easy recipes below you can give a try. First a really simple hummus using edamame beans and raw garlic scapes and the second is a pesto you can use with pasta or grilled vegetables. Feel free to swap out the beans and nuts in these two options. Remember, the garlic scape is your Oscar-winning supporting actor. It will make the main dish shine.
Garlic Scape Hummus
Makes 1 pint
2 cups shelled frozen edamame
¼ cup garlic scapes, sliced thinly, 3 tendrils
Zest and juice of 1 lemon, separated
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup water
Freshly grated black pepper
5 large fresh basil leaves
1. Rinse the beans and set in a glass bowl. Cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove paper towel and allow the edamame to cool a little.
2. Place the scapes in a food processor with the lemon zest and process for 1 to 2 minutes. The scapes should be completely broken down.
3. Add the cooled edamame, lemon juice (3-4 tablespoons if it’s nice and juicy), 1 teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Process until you have a thick paste. Scrape down the sides.
4. With the machine running slowly add the olive oil and then the water. You should have a soft consistency. With the processor running drop in the basil leaves one at a time. Add a little more water if needed.
5. Taste for seasoning and chill before serving.
Garlic Scape Pesto
Makes 1 cup
1 cup garlic scapes, cut in 1″ pieces, about 6 garlic scape stalks
Avocado olive oil or another flavorless oil
Ground black pepper
¼ cup roasted sliced almonds, plus more for garnish
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1. Over medium heat saute the scapes with 1 tablespoon of oil and a good pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until they are slightly soft, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape into the bowl of your food processor and allow to cool.
2. Add the almonds and cheese to the food processor along with a ½ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper. Process until finely ground. With the machine running add ¼ cup of oil and the lemon zest and juice. Then add about ¼ cup or more of water, slowly. The water will help thin it out a little, just don’t let it get too watery.
3. Taste for seasoning. You can use this pesto with pasta or grilled vegetables.
Cook’s Note: Freeze your pesto in an ice cube tray for later use.