Garlic scape recipes
Garlic scapes, or flower stalks, emerge from hard-necked varieties of
garlic in June. The stalks wind up as they grow and form eccentric
curlicues. Snipping off the scapes before the flowerheads mature directs
more energy into the developing garlic bulb, and so we snip them
off for a garlic scape harvest in mid-June.
When the garlic scapes are still in full curl, they are tender
and succulent. They have a garlicky taste that is milder than the garlic cloves with the tender snap of just-picked asparagus. Garlic scapes have many uses from soup to salads to garnishes.
scape is an allium delicacy that is highly prized and traditionally used
in Southern and Eastern European, Middle Eastern, Korean, and other Asian cuisine because
of its subtle garlic flavor and tender-crisp texture.
Find links to more ideas on our scapes links page. Let us know at the newsletter
about your favorite scape concoction or discovery.
Grill, stir fry, raw on salads, garlic scape hummus, scape pesto
(with or without other herbs), scape tempura, scape soup, served as a
companion or a main dish.
Garlic Scape Pesto
1 cup (or less) freshly grated Parmesan or other sharp Italian
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime or lemon juice, to taste
1/4 pound roughly chopped scapes
1/2 cup olive oil
salt to taste
Puree scapes, olive oil, and juice in a blender or food processor until
nearly smooth. (You can make a smooth paste, but most people like a
little texture in the pesto.) Stir in or gently pulse the cheese and
then adjust juice and salt to taste.
Scape pesto freezes well, and it holds its appealing green color
even better than the traditional basil pesto.
Serving suggestions: Serve the garlic scape pesto on crackers, on sliced mushrooms as an hors d'oeuvre, in celery sticks, mixed in with
mashed potatoes, as a vegetable dip, smeared on a sandwich as a condiment, under the
cheese on a pizza, between layers of lasagne, mixed in with breadcrumbs or rice and sausage for stuffing a pepper or tomato or big portobello mushroom, as a garnish dolloped
onto a bowl of soup, scrambled with the morning eggs...in short, nearly any way you can
imagine. Apart from dessert.
Variations: Include walnuts, pecans, pistachios,
almonds, cashews or other nuts and/or basil or parsley to the scapes in
the blending step. (Many recipes recommend using pine nuts, as is
traditional in basil-based pesto Genovese, but most pine nuts are now
imported from China, unless they are very expensive, and so we tend to
use pecans from the American southeast or walnuts and almonds from
California if no local nuts are available.) Adjusting the ratio of
scapes to cheese, nuts, juice, and salt changes the balance of garlicky
flavor and heat. Use the balance that pleases the palates of your
family members or guests, or that suits your mood of the moment. Try
different cheeses for different flavors: Parmesan, pecorino romano,
asiago, for example; be sure to sample before salting, as some cheeses
have more salt than others.
Garlic Scape Hummus
2 cans of chick peas (garbanzos) drained
1 cup sesame seeds or tahini
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup fresh chopped garlic scapes
Place the ingredients in a blender on high until a thick paste
forms. Salt to taste.
Variation: Add your favorite curry, to taste.
Garlic Scape Storage
Garlic scapes keep well in cold storage, though freshly cut scapes taste the best.
You can keep scapes in the refrigerator for a month or more, in a paper
bag to avoid turning them into a slimy science project.
well, too--blanched or not--but they tend to lose some of the garlicky
heat during long storage below freezing. Even if they lose some flavor, scapes from the freezer add a great texture and color to dishes long after scape season has passed.
One of our farm customers swears by vacuum-packing and then freezing, but we haven't tried it yet.
If you want to keep scapes flavorful for many moons, make up some scape pesto for the freezer.
Some people pickle garlic scapes, too, and you'll find recipes on the web. We haven't tried that ourselves, but we welcome heraring about your results if you try preserving scapes in a brine.
More Scape Preparation, Advice & Serving Suggestions
We advise removing the stalk tip above the pod before
using the scapes. Some people use the whole scape, but the pod and tip are much more
fibrous than the tender stalk.
Scapes tend to get tough and/or lose flavor if overcooked, so start
To learn how much cooking is enough and how much is too much, perform a test: cut
scapes to desired lengths and sauté in a little olive oil over medium
heat, adding salt and pepper to taste. Do a taste test after just a few minutes; serve when the scapes are warmed through and still tender. The end result a side
dish that is elegant and tasty, and a rule of thumb for how much time the scapes need in the pan.
Try some of these other ideas:
Use garlic scapes any way you would use asparagus.
Grill them in curly lengths or follow the example of a customer and knot them in a loop before grilling to make them easier to handle with tongs.
Cut scapes into 2-inch lengths and sauté in olive oil or butter over
heat, adding salt andpepper to taste.
Add scapes to your favorite stir-fry dishes. Wendy from Taiwan stirs fries them with cured pork and some fresh hot pepper slices.
Chop the garlic scapes into little disks as you would scallions and add them raw to salads.
Add to pickled beets or cucumbers.
Steam and dress with a bit of lemon juice.
Use as a garnish.
Garlic scape pesto (see recipe above).
Slice into short rounds and sprinkle over any pasta.
Slice and add to most any sauce.
Chop and add to guacamole or fresh salsa.
Chop and mix with softened cream cheese or butter for a savory
sandwiches or bagels.
Use chopped fresh scapes as a garnish for tomato or potato soup.
Add chopped scapes to vegetable soups and stews toward the end of
Use in recipes as a substitute for green onions.
Add to toppings for bruschetta or pizza.
Place in lightly oiled pan and add salt to taste. Cover and roast
for 30 to
45 minutes until beginning to turn brown. Serve as a side dish.
Use a blender or food processor to purée a couple handfuls of chopped scapes into a stick or two of butter. Or follow Marc's example, and start with locally produced cream, add a little cultured buttermilk, set it aside for a couple or three days, and then mix it together in a food processor, thereby churning the cultured cream into butter and flavoring it with scapes at the same time.
Add to egg dishes or mashed potatoes.