Great scapes

Those folks who grow garlic have a great double bonus this time of year: garlic scapes. These are the greens that shoot up through the ground while the garlic bulb is developing and hardening underground. It’s best to cut off these curly stalks so the garlic plants won’t expend energy on growing them rather than growing the bulb.

And here’s the best part: those garlic scapes are good eating.

Since I don’t grow my own garlic, I headed to the farmers’ market this morning to look for some. When the strawberries are ripe around here, early in the season, that’s the time……(I bought a basket of strawberries too….)

"Scape" is a botanical word to describe a leafless flower stalk, growing directly from the ground

Sure enough, I found some nice curlicued bunches of garlic scapes for sale.

The scapes are so curly and springy that this farmers' market seller wrapped them around a pole

So, what do you do with garlic scapes? Well, I haven’t gotten much past just cutting them into pieces, like asparagus or green beans, and sauteeing or steaming them till tender. I like to mix them into bulgur or potato salads, or serve with other vegetables. Tonight I sauteed garlic scapes with some sliced pea pods and mushrooms, and mixed them into hot pasta along with olive oil, salt and pepper, and a little pecorino cheese.

The wonderful thing about them is that they taste kind of like green beans with garlic injected inside. The garlic flavor is milder than the dried bulb.

I’ve also read that you can roast garlic scapes (with a little oil and salt) and I’m sure that would be delicious. I might try it tomorrow. Some people make a pesto with the scapes, nuts, olive oil and cheese; and there’s also a nice suggestion for a greenly tinted dip made of white beans and finely chopped garlic scapes.

I bet they’d also be mighty tasty in place of the asparagus (above) in that Milanese dish, with eggs atop and roasted potatoes on the side. What about a potato-garlic scape soup? It’s usually too hot for that when they’re in season, but here in the Northwest, soup days haven’t ended yet.

While you're contemplating how to cook your garlic scapes, you can put them in a glass of water and admire their dynamic curly shapes

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2 Comments

Filed under spring, summer, Uncategorized, vegetables

2 responses to “Great scapes

  1. Rick Steigmeyer

    Interesting entry! I want to try all those ideas. Great photos!

  2. Cathy mihalik

    Wow a whole new concept in cooking….. Thanks Toby. I’ll look at the farmer’s market on the weekend.

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