Scape Your Way to a Great Fourth

Garlic scapes were a mystery ingredient to me a couple of years ago when I first spotted them at a farmer’s market. Green, somewhat curled, they appeared to have a flower pod on the end.

It is a flower bud. Scapes are the green tops of garlic plants, which are removed in June to grow a more robust garlic plant. The flavor is milder than garlic, but you use a whole bunch so be careful.

Garlic scapes are the green curls in the center right of the photo.

There are quite a few ways to cook with garlic scapes. My personal favorite is to make a pesto  or chimichurri sauce with it.

For the pesto, I follow a traditional pesto recipe, substituting a bunch of scapes for the requested garlic. You will need to chop your scapes into about 1-inch or 2-inch pieces in order for the food processor to handle them. I haven’t tried mashing this with a traditional mortar and pestle, and don’t recommend it.

Some scapes are fairly soft throughout the cutting. Others get woody toward the end closest to where it was cut. Stop chopping and discard into the compost bin once you get to the tough part.

PESTO

My general recipe for pesto is:

4-6 cups of basil leaves, stems removed

1/4 cup parsley, stems removed

2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, cut into smaller pieces for the food processor

1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (although you can use sunflower seeds or toasted walnuts). I prefer the taste of pine nuts because that is what I was taught.

Generous pinch (or more) of kosher salt

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (this is a raw sauce, so use the best EVOO you can get) – plus more for topping the sauce off

Combine basil, parsley, garlic, cheese, pine nuts, salt, and 1/4 cup of the olive oil in the food processor. Pulse until all are chopped. With the processor running, add remaining olive oil.

If you are not using immediately, scrape into a glass jar. Cover with olive oil (prevents the pesto from becoming black by sealing out the air). Cover with a lid and refrigerate.

For a variation on the pesto, try swapping out 1/2 or more of the basil with kale or arugula.

USES: Use it to top pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water to thin it out once it is on the pasta. Rub it all over and under the skin of a chicken and grill or roast the chicken. Add a couple of tablespoons it to cream cheese and use it as a filling for chicken breasts. Mix a couple of tablespoons with a stick of butter and spread on a cut loaf of bread make a divine garlic bread.

Pickle

You can also pickle scapes – although this is not something I have tried. You can check out Serious Eats for the recipe.

I haven’t tried it because I usually don’t have enough left to pickle.

Quiche

Use the scapes to make a quiche. This recipe includes ham, but you can omit it, substitute bacon. Or, for a purely veggie quiche, add some sautéed leeks and chard. This recipe is from The Artful Gardener. 

Pizza

Buy some pizza dough, if you aren’t into making your own, and try this combo of brie and scapes. 

Your own variations can include alfredo sauce, red peppers, feta cheese, and scapes. I’d throw in some hot pickled peppers, too.

Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce is traditionally served with grilled steaks. I like the zestful combo of the garlic scape, herbs, lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil – and think you can serve it with chicken, a meaty piece of fish (think swordfish or halibut), or a mixed veggie grill that includes eggplant, Portobello mushrooms, and zucchini.

Chimichurri can be made a number of ways – such as with and without cilantro, or with and without red pepper flakes or jalapeno. The basic premise is parsley and other herbs, lemon, vinegar, garlic, and olive oil (plus salt and pepper).

Personally, I like the cilantro and jalapeno. If you don’t, then skip them.

The recipe follows.

Go Fourth and enjoy some garlic scapes!

Marnie

Marnie@meadballs.com

Print Recipe
Garlic Scape Chimichurri
Servings
cup, approx
Ingredients
Servings
cup, approx
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until blended. You can check consistency. If you like it chunky, stop here. If you like a more finely chopped (more like a pesto), then continue pulsing until you get the right consistency.
  2. I like to let it rest for about 15 minutes, then taste and adjust seasonings.
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Market Monday: Gazpacho Nights

IMG_4228We are in the full heat of summer, when walking the dog is an early morning and a late evening activity. The rains have taken care of the morning waterings of the garden, which is full of tomatoes and cucumbers. This is the promise that keeps gardeners going through the Ides of March until planting around Memorial Day.

In early summer, when the plants were small and promise was great, the evenings were full of neighborhood families sitting outside under patio lights or burn pits, enjoying the warmth of the season. Laughter would be mixed with the sounds of the frogs and crickets serenading the night. For the past two weeks, the sound of human company on our walks has been replaced with the hum of air conditioners. The frogs and crickets were still going strong, but the click of Bobo’s nails was accompanied by the whir of compressor units. Our walks were no longer at sunset, but more like 10:30 or 11 p.m.

After these walks, the dog naps. Smart dog. I feel like it too, but life gets in the way of a good nap. Plus, there will be plenty of time for that once fall fades into winter. But I’m still feeling quite lazy. Certainly not up to the task of making a grand dinner. Barely up to lighting the grill.

The blender is my friend on nights like this. Into it goes garlic, onion, tomatoes, peppers (sweet and hot), cucumbers, salt, a dash of vinegar and some V8 Juice. Out comes my version of gazpacho, a lovely summer soup best eaten chilled (but not cold), and drizzled with some olive oil. If you feel the need for some protein, add some lump crab or cooked shrimp. Sometimes I want a little crunch, so I add some croutons. I’ve been known to put in a dollop of Greek yogurt. It’s really about what you hanker.

Last night, I wanted nothing more than the fresh taste of the vegetables, so I garnished with nothing more than a swirl of EVOO.

There are lots of varieties in the Spanish gazpacho family: red, white and green. All traditionally have bread, fruits and vegetables, vinegar, and olive oil pureed together. The white involves almonds and grapes. Green is usually herbs. But I’ve also seen it made with green melon, which I may try a little later this summer.

Mine is not a true Spanish gazpacho, but it is my American version fresh from my garden.

I hope you enjoy this taste of summer (and the amazing sunsets still to come).

XOXOXO

Marnie

Print Recipe
Summer Gazpacho
Perfect for summer nights with vegetables fresh from your garden or a farm stand.
Cuisine American, Spanish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour, chill
Servings
bowls
Ingredients
Cuisine American, Spanish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Passive Time 1 hour, chill
Servings
bowls
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Place tomatoes, cucumber, garlic, jalapeno, pepper, vinegar and V8 to blender.
  2. Blend on high until texture is consistent and to your liking.
  3. Taste. And add salt. Some of this will depend on whether you use V8 or another tomato juice.
  4. Serve in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. you can add shrimp, crab, croutons.
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