I live in a lovely area of New Jersey that is absolutely nothing like Newark or The Jersey Shore. We have horse farms, alpaca farms, bee farms & even an ostrich farm. We have everything from full-fledged fruit & vegetable farms: with huge produce stands, to little tables & honor-boxes at the end of the driveway: selling whatever bounty their garden has provided a surplus of that day. Occasionally, we find something strange or unique.
Last year I was perplexed to find weeds in my CSA box. I read through the four page newsletter and found they weren’t weeds, they were called Garlic Scape. They are the green tops of the garlic bulb that are removed from the garlic bulb; to encourage larger growth of the bulb before harvest.
Determined to love this newfound vegetable, as it is green so chances are I WILL love it, I began researching recipes. It seems the typical use for them is to use them as you would garlic. In breads, pastas & sauces. Apparently, you can also sauté them as you would green beans but I chose to go with a family favorite to get the true flavor: pesto.
I used my usual recipe but swapped the basil, for scapes:
Basil Scape Pesto
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves garlic scapes
1 cup olive oil
3/4 cup grated Reggiano Parmesan
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 turn fresh black pepper
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Combine all the ingredients, except for the olive oil, in a blender or food processor. With the blender running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Toss with pasta or spread on fish, bread or veggies.
I wanted to love this recipe, I really did. Sadly though, for the scape, I found the taste….grassy. Almost like an onion-grass would taste in comparison to shallot. It just didn’t work for me.
Dont let that scare you off should you find an opportunity to try them yourself though. Try them & if you like them, please let me know how you prepared them!