Monday, June 30, 2014

Loving Garlic Scapes! (with Recipes)

One of my summer joys is my weekly trip to the farm to pick up my CSA share. While some CSA’s have designated items for each shareholder, I fell fortunate that my CSA allows us to select the items we want to take home each.

I discovered garlic scapes a few years at the CSA, and look forward to them every year – they are one of the items I always select, if I have an option to. Other “must bring home” items include lettuce and scallions. Seriously, it’s impossible to have too much!

So, what is a garlic scape? It’s the flowering stem of a garlic plant. While the garlic grows underground, the scapes shoot up through the soil, giving us greens that can be harvested in late spring/early summer (whereas the garlic bulbs will be much later in the season). Not surprisingly, they taste garlicky! But not too garlicky. Like most greens, they can be eaten raw or cooked.

One of my favorite uses for garlic scapes is to make pesto:

Garlic Scape Pesto

About 15 garlic scapes, ends trimmed
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 ½ tablespoons shelled hemp seeds
½ to ¾ cup olive oil

Place all the scapes, salt, lemon juice, hemp seeds, and ½ cup of olive in a food processor. Blend on low speed until everything is chopped and well mixed. Add up to ¼ cup more oil, until desired consistency is reached. (Add even more oil if you are using this as a pasta sauce or dipping sauce.)

The shelled hemp seeds replace pine nuts (usually found in traditional pesto) giving it a slightly nutty taste and some protein.

Now, what to do with the garlic scape pesto? How about making a chicken salad?

Garlic Scape Pesto Chicken Salad

2 grilled chicken breasts, diced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
½ cup Garlic Scape Pesto (see above)

Mix all of the ingredients together and refrigerate.

And here are some more ideas on how to use that yummy Garlic Scape Pesto:
  • Use it as a pasta sauce
  • Top off a pizza (instead of tomato sauce)
  • Use it as a dipping sauce for gluten-free bread
  • Use it as a sandwich spread
Or just use your imagination! If you have an idea for how to use garlic scapes, please share!

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