Garlic Scapes to learn with

$20 bundle will give you enough to play with and learn with!

Scapes are the shoots that grow out of the ground from hard-neck varieties of garlic. When they're young and tender, they look like curly green stalks with tightly closed buds on top. Farmers and gardeners harvest them at this time of year so that they won't drain nutrients from the garlic bulbs that will be dug up in a couple of months, plump and glorious and ready for drying.

But scapes offer more than a slightly rowdy alternative to garlic. Because of their substantial heft as opposed to garlic cloves, they are vegetable, aromatic, and even herb all in one.  Grab a handful and give one of these ideas a try.

1. Scape Pesto

Far and away my favorite use for garlic scapes is pesto, either straight-up or mixed with herbs like basil and dill. Pesto showcases raw scapes in all their glory. Scape pesto can be very pungent, but it mellows substantially after a few months in the freezer. I like it best in the middle of winter, but I think that's one part mellowing and two parts deprivation. You can find my scape pesto recipe below.

2. Grilled Scapes

Another great, and very different, way to showcase scapes is to grill them, tossed with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper, over direct heat for about two minutes. Flip them once, halfway through, and finish with an extra sprinkle of flaky salt and maybe a bit of lemon juice and zest. They'll be charred in spots and just soft enough, and their flavor will have sweetened and mellowed dramatically. Grilled scapes are surprisingly reminiscent of asparagus, and surprisingly different from raw scapes.

3. Scape Hummus

For the same reason they work well in pesto, scapes are a brilliant swap-in for garlic in your favorite homemade hummus. I think they work especially well in a lemony, tahini-free hummus, which really gives them a chance to shine. Edamame "hummus" with scapes works nicely too, and color coordination is tough to argue with.

4. Scape Compound Butter

Scapes would make a lovely compound butter with a little lemon and maybe some fresh thyme. You could use the butter to make a tarted-up garlic bread, and I can't think of much (except maybe fruit—I do have some boundaries) that could be tossed on the grill but not finished with a nice slice of this melting goodness.

5. Scapes as aromatic

To take a more utilitarian approach, you can slice scapes to whatever length you like and use them as you would garlic, as an aromatic in a wide variety of recipes. Scapes lose a lot of their bite when sautéed, more so than garlic cloves, so use at least three or four times as much scape-age as you would clove-age.

6. Scapes as Vegetable

Scapes also work well as a vegetable, cut into lengths and added to stir-fries or blanched and added to salads, much as you might use green beans. They're chameleons among vegetables, I tell you, though not karma chameleons. Karma-wise, they're all good.

7. Scape Soup

Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't point you toward Melissa Clark's recipe for double-garlic soup, which uses both scapes and cloves.

 

Garlic Scapes to learn with
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