Just when I thought it was all over, and best not to even tell you about until say next season, I found more garlic scapes this week! Really? That worthy of an exclamation point? To me, yes. This season I cannot get enough of those serpentine-looking tops of the hard neck garlic plants.
Yeah yeah, early spring we all go gaga over one of those first signs of Spring (and that we will once again be hitting the outdoor farmers markets): green garlic. Those tiny, tender shoots of garlic that had to be thinned from the field (yay for those of us that geek out over it). Then about a month later, when the excitement of the green simmers down, the scapes of the garlic plant begin to appear at the market. These are not the leaves of the plant, but more of the ‘flowering’ (doesn’t really flower in this case) stem of the garlic bulb. The scape is typically lopped off in order to let the plant put it’s energies into producing a larger bulb of garlic, all the more cloves for your enjoyment later in the season.
So the scape frenzy typically, short and sweet as it is, starts late Spring and goes until early Summer. And this season, instead of just using them chopped and tossed into salads, eggs, dressings, and quite frankly in most ways I would use garlic, I went a bit over board purchasing them (say nothing my market-going enabling friends out there. yeah, you know who you are). Well let’s just say, like the abundance of arugula, basil, sage, and shiso in my yard this year the garlic scapes were made into vats (ok, maybe jars) of pesto.
You would think one would get tired of so much garlic consumption (trust me, it was scary, I was putting it on everything except maybe ice cream), but no. And just when I resigned myself to no more scape pesto till next season, voila, there was a pile of it at the market on Wednesday (Thank you Leaning Shed Farm). I guess in this crazy growing season nothing should shock.
So if you are out at the markets this week, keep your eyes peeled for the garlic scapes. Whip up some pesto. And like me you will want to put it on everything. Ok, maybe not everything, but crostini, pizza, as a pasta sauce, in eggs, sandwich condiment…you get the idea.
Mo’s Garlic Scape Pesto
1 1/2 cups chopped garlic scapes (with the ‘flower’ pod removed)
1 cup chopped almonds or pine nuts (or in my case a combo of both)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste
Combine the garlic scapes, nuts, and cheese in a food processor. With processor motor still running slowly stream the olive oil into the mixture. Then add salt and pepper and the lemon juice. Scrape mixture into jar and keep in the fridge for a week (honestly I have gone longer when the batch has been doubled…or tripled ;).
Alright, I haven’t been to the market for many many weeks because our CSA boxes have been so full, but now I’ll have to go on Saturday to see if I can get some scapes. This year there were hardly any in our boxes and I miss them. I also want to try this pesto.