The name, the crazy every-which-way twistiness - if Doctor Seuss had invented a plant, garlic scapes would be it.
Really, how can you take these things seriously?
Jammy Chicken's ode to Garlic Scapes in the manner of Doctor Seuss.
Green and curly, tall and twirly.
Scapes are thin and scapes are long.
Scapes, they sing a garlic song.
Garlic inside and garlic below, the scape is the place for garlic flavor to go!
Cut one down and eat it raw, cut two down and pickle it all.
Cut three down and make a paste.
Do not let them go to waste.
Add nuts and oil for pesto dishes.
You can spread it on some fishes.
Scapes, they are a summer taste.
Soon they'll be gone, don't hesitate!
- J. Chicken
Garlic scapes - I know they look odd and kind of crazy, but they really do taste remarkably like garlic, just not quite as sharp as a real zinger of a clove can be. They are difficult to find unless you grow your own garlic or have a source in a friendly farmer or farmer's market near you.
If you can get your hands on some, it is well worth it.
Scapes are harvested to direct all the garlic plant's energy into the bulb, rather than wasting some making a flower. My garlic guy says when you choose your scapes, you want the ones that are the lightest green possible. This guarantees fresh and delicate scapes. You can eat the entire thing, from the stem right through the bulge that is waiting to be a flower. The thin flower tip may be a little crisp - just snip off any dried parts, and your scape is ready.
Pesto is the obvious choice for big payoff with little work, and I used Dorrie Greenspan's recipe as a starting point. I wanted to add a little more depth with some smoky flavor. Since the British Guy has finally gotten grilling down to an art and a science, we've got the coals fired up every couple days around here. Toss on some scapes for a minute or two just to soften them up and give a little flavor. This is by no means necessary, but it adds a lovely touch. Careful you don't drop any through the rack - they're twisty little things and slip through faster than you can blink.
Many recipes use almonds as the nut of choice, but I think that English Walnuts stand up to the sharp scape heat much better and add a woodsy flavor. Olives provide some salt and some body, and olive oil does the rest.
Grilled Garlic Scape Pesto.
Makes about 2 cups (470 ml).
20 scapes (about 160 g)
11-12 large green pitted olives (60 g)
2/3 cup English Walnuts (75 g)
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons or more olive oil (186 ml)
pepper to taste
You will also need a food processor and a grill.
Toss half of the garlic scapes in a little oil and grill them until lightly charred, then allow to cool. These can be grilled in advance and kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Toast the walnuts in a frying pan on medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring often, until warm and just beginning to brown. Allow to cool.
Chop the grilled and fresh scapes into 1-inch (2.5 cm) long pieces, and add to the bowl of a food processor with the olives and walnuts. Process until chopped very finely, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl as necessary.
Add 2/3 cup of olive oil and process until well-combined. Add additional oil as required to achieve the consistency you prefer. I used 2 more tablespoons of oil.
Add pepper to taste.
Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze for up to 6 months.