My favourite time of the year is fast approaching. Soon the local vegetable stands at the side of the road will be popping up, loaded with fresh, local produce. It all starts in June with a few of my favourites: cucumbers, peas, and strawberries. But the thing I'm looking most forward to this year is garlic scapes!
Garlic scapes are the leaf-less stem of the garlic plant. They have a milder taste than the garlic bulb they grow from, like a cross between garlic and green onions. I have seen them popping up in most grocery stores the past couple of years, but you'll definitely find them in abundance at your local farmer's market. The scapes are harvested a couple of weeks before the bulb, so they are only available for a short time.
You can use garlic scapes anywhere you'd normally use green onions or garlic (but with a much milder flavour). Try chopping them up on salad, mixed into an omelet, or my favourite, made into pesto! Scape pesto is delicious on crostini, mixed with mayonnaise on a sandwich, or a great addition to scrambled eggs. I like to make up a big batch of pesto, some for immediate use on pasta, and the rest to be frozen and stored for later use. Of course, it doesn't last long at my house.
I'm especially excited this year because I joined a community supported agriculture group and one of the first items I'm expecting in my bounty this June are garlic scapes. There's nothing like fresh, picked-today, produce, but I'll have more about that next time.
1 cup chopped garlic scapes
1/2 fresh grated parmesan cheese
olive oil (1/2 to 3/4 cups)
handful of pine nuts or walnuts (optional)
Process the garlic scapes in a food processor until well pureed. Add the cheese and nuts (if using). Process until smooth. Keeping the food processor running, add olive oil until combined.