Thursday, June 21, 2012
garlic scapes & artichoke pesto
We also received garlic scapes this week. A garlic scape is the long, curly, whimsical looking seed-head and stalk that grow from garlic bulbs. If you've ever left garlic around your kitchen for too long, you've seen it emerge. In the spring, farmers usually cut the scapes off in order to redirect the energy and growth back into the bulb, making it plump. Sometimes farmers allow the scapes to grow out and form garlic bulbils, which can ultimately be planted to create new bulbs, but this process takes two to three years years.
The scapes are most tender just as they begin to curl and should be harvested at this time. If the shoots are straight, they will be tough. Scapes can be cooked and eaten just as garlic can. They have a milder taste than their bulbous relatives that's reminiscent of chive. When cooked, their texture is similar to that of young asparagus.
I decided to make an artichoke pesto using our scapes (and a single garlic clove for good measure). The result was incredibly tasty, and the green shoots added a little color and textural variation to the pesto that was delightful!
1 can of artichokes, rinsed and drained (you can of course use fresh artichokes if you're feeling ambitious, and they are currently in season)
zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
2 garlic scapes, chopped into small pieces
Using a blender, combine all ingredients until smooth.
Serve with a warm, crusty baguette or with toasted pita chips.
For a spicy variant, add a dash of cayenne pepper and serve with tortillas chips or as a substitute for guacamole.