Garlic Scapes. Who knew they even existed? They are not the kind of thing you generally see on a grocery store shelf and people very rarely know what they are unless they garden or belong to a CSA. I will be completely honest that I had never seen them before joining our farm share — and I love to cook with unique ingredients. So technically speaking, the garlic scape is the green stalk of a young garlic plant. (They continue to exist when the plant matures, they just aren’t really edible any more.) Obviously, they have a very garlicky flavor, but are somewhat like a cross between garlic and a curly, dense scallion.
As I was making the pesto last night, I began to think of the many uses for it. It is truly delicious and I think I like it more than regular basil pesto. On the simplest level, toss some of the warm scape pesto with hot pasta and you have a treat. We did that last night with some local asparagus, which made a great, light dinner. (BTW, I am not eating wheat right now, so I had the Bionaturae gluten-free spaghetti and it was delicious. Highly recommend it for those off gluten or wheat.) The kids absolutely devoured it and wanted more.
But other than pasta, the possibilities are endless — mixed in with sour cream and/or cream cheese for a dip or spread, as a sauce on a white pizza with fresh mozzarella, in omelets, mixed into soups or tomato sauces, extended with a bit of lemon juice or vinegar for a salad dressing, tossed with veggies for roasting, mixed with white beans and sausage for a warm salad, used as a basis for a pasta salad, spread on toasts or bruschetta for a quick appetizer (or on a sandwich), or mixed into hummus or white bean dip, etc.
The pesto keeps well in the refrigerator and it is also easily frozen so you can enjoy it when the garlic scapes are no longer around. This version is nut-free for my allergic daughter, but I love the richness of the toasted pumpkin seeds. I’m sure any type of nuts or seeds would work, however.
Get to the farmer’s market now and ask around for garlic scapes. If you are like me, you will want to eat this directly off the spoon.
Garlic Scape Pesto with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Makes about 2 1/2 cups
15 garlic scapes, trimmed and roughly chopped
3/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup olive oil
1 t salt
Freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1. In the bowl of a food processor, add garlic scapes, toasted pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Process until smooth, scraping down sides as necessary.
2. Place into a small bowl and stir in parmesan cheese. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.