Greenmarket Grub: Garlic Scapes
If you are a fancy pants person who reads a lot of food magazines / is first in line when the farmers’ market opens / prides yourself on your food knowledge, then you already know these are garlic scapes.
If you are, well, me, then you need to need to look up what the hell you just brought home.
In brief, scapes are the long, flowerless stalks that emerge from bulbs of hardneck garlic. If they’re left on, they will eventually form another bulb of garlic — but only by diverting the plant’s resources from what would otherwise be a nice fat head of garlic underground. It’s like pinching back the tops of a plant to make the rest grow better.
Which is fascinating, I know, but how does it taste? Well, if there’s an allium Kinsey Scale where mild, sweet onions are a 0 and raw garlic is a 6… scapes are probably about a 4. Predominately garlicky but still enough sweetness to eat raw without cringing. [And I feel like there was more to make of the idea of the onion-garlic Kinsey scale but I just can’t seem to find it. WELL ANYWAY.]
Basically, any recipe that calls for garlic could easily use garlic scapes instead — stir-fry, pizza, pasta, whatever — but I used mine to make pesto. You can either use all scapes or use half scapes and half basil, which is what I did. Otherwise, the recipe is the same: scapes/basil (no garlic, obviously), olive oil, salt, et cetera.
And then you can be a fancy pants, too.
ADDENDUM: I’ve got a piece about me and my kid up on Mamalode.com today… maybe you might like to read it?