Thursday, June 17, 2004

June Scapes

Every vegetarian should have neighbors like Jane and George, whose meticulously tended garden has yielded our most exciting culinary finds this year. Tonight, George introduced us to the wonders of garlic scapes, those elegant swirls and seedpods that develop atop hard-neck garlic stalks in June.

Thanks to those scapes, we dined tonight on one of the best pestos we've had in months. (And that's saying a lot, since we regularly make fresh pesto from our basil plants.) Scape pesto is smooth and flavorful, but in a subtle, garlicky-lemony way.

The recipe is trés simple:
• 6-7 garlic scapes, chopped
• approx. 1 c. olive oil
• 1 c. grated parmesan or asiago cheese* (The latter tastes best.)

We used a mini-chopper to combine the scapes and olive oil, which turned a brilliant, if watery-looking, green. We blended this by hand with the fresh-grated (hard) mozzarella and poured it over angel-hair pasta, which we then garnished with toasted pine nuts, olives, and fresh tomatoes.

Garlic scape pesto apparently freezes well. Not that we'd know, since we reluctantly turned over the remaining portion to Jane and George. Sigh. It was the right thing to do. But, as God is my witness, my June diet henceforth will be heavy on the scapes.

P.S. If you don't have generous, gardening neighbors, you can still get garlic scapes at the farmer's market or food co-op. (And probably some grocery stores, too.) For more neat garlic scape recipes, visit this site.


At 1:09 AM, Blogger Mel said...

these look so beautiful! I've never heard of them before, even though I'm a big garlic fan. I wonder why they're called "scapes."

At 9:32 AM, Blogger YelloCello said...

They're also sometimes called "spears," "stems," or "tops." I hadn't heard of them either -- and I have yet to find anyone who knows where the "scapes" label originates.

Caught a glimpse of George's garden yesterday, and it appears the time of scapes is past. I guess they're only available for a fleeting spell in June.

At 6:03 PM, Blogger dc365 said...

Oooohhhh, yes. I bought these at the farmer's market this morning without a clue of what to do with them. Luckily, I stumbled across this recipe! Holy smokes, garlicky, rich but light, so springy! I used the pesto over penne, used pinenuts, olives and cherry tomatoes as you suggested, and then a little fresh basil because I had it around. Paired it with a simple sauted tilapia. A wonderful meal! Thank you!

At 11:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've also seen a garlic scape pesto recipe that incorporates walnuts instead of the traditional pine nuts. I think it was 1 cup scapes to 1/3 cup walnuts and can't remember the olive oil quantity.

It's delicious as well.

At 11:16 PM, Blogger YelloCello said...

For the record, we made scape pesto with walnuts this week. I think I prefer it to the pine nut recipe. It gives the flavor even more depth.

At 9:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a wonderful recipe --- I also changed "nuts" and decided on salted cashews as it was all I had on hand --- try it --- it's truly delicious!

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