Have you ever been strolling around a farmers market and thought, “What on earth is that person selling, and how would I use it in my cooking?” Sometimes sellers at markets have products that you would never see in grocery stores, and that can be intimidating. But to us, that’s part of the fun! Farmers markets are great places to find fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs that you can experiment with. And because we love all things garlic, we’re here to chat with you about one of those things: garlic scapes.
What are they? Garlic scapes are what grows from the top of garlic plants. Yep, that’s it!
What do they taste like? Still a bit garlicky, but much less so than raw garlic cloves. Picture an earthy, garlicky, sort of chive-like flavor.
How do I cook with them? There are TONS of options! Here are a few:
Garlic Scape Pesto from Serious Eats:
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes*
Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
A few generous grinds of black pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
*Or use half scapes and half herbs such as basil, dill and chervil
In a small, dry pan set over very low heat, lightly toast the pine nuts, stirring or tossing occasionally until just beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
Combine the scapes, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse about 20 times, until fairly well combined. Pour in the olive oil slowly through the feed tube while the motor is running. When the oil is incorporated, transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese. If you plan to freeze the pesto, wait to add the cheese until after you've defrosted it.
2. Chop and sautee your scapes, and fold them into an omelet or scrambled eggs
3. Use like green onions, and stir them into your fried rice
4. Dice finely and use in salad dressings (like Green Goddess)
5. Roast them, season with salt and pepper and eat them as a side dish!
6. Add into your next batch of homemade hummus for a different take on an old classic.
As a general rule of them, the seller should always have ideas about what you can do with whatever weird and wacky produce they’re selling, so don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations!