We once had a garden on the upper backside of a large lot that held the first house we owned. Although neighboring trees provided serious competition for nutrients and water, at least there was enough sunlight to satisfy the needs of many perennial flowers and some food plants too, including currants, horseradish, rhubarb, and garlic. Acquainting ourselves with these treasures was quite a delight. The garlic scapes were the most foreign of all and we beheld them as would children, wide-eyed at the latest fresh new thing. With their thick goose-neck coils and curlicues, they stood like sentinels carrying oddly curved bayonets. Had we fallen into Alice’s Wonderland? Initially we were ignorant of their culinary worth. Visuals and victuals too! And we hardly suspected that a decade later, we would happily stand in line to pay for a small bunch, in the short window of their season. Fortunately, it seems that supply is increasingly in step with demand, and they are easier to find each year at farmers’ markets as well as Asian produce stands.
Here are some ideas for using them, with a minimum of instruction in place of formal recipes……..make sure to trim the latent flowery top and an inch or so off of the stem……..
The Simplest Garlic Scape Pesto…….
Pulse the chopped stems in a mini food processor with some olive oil. Fiddle with the proportions to your heart’s content. Put on bread, fish, chicken, meat, in soup, salad dressing…..go crazy.
Try topping broiled portobello mushrooms with the pesto and re-broil for a few minutes more….
Get some hummus, or make your own. I made mine with a ‘new to me’ bean called Mayocoba which I got at Whole Foods. It’s from Peru. With a color something like ochre, it has a nice nutty flavor and texture that inclines it well to a dip. Top it with the pesto and some hot sauce. Serve with veggies and pita, or spread on toasted bread.
Recently I found a useful method for frying tofu and you can check it out here. This will lead you to the discovery of another great blog, if you’re looking for more inspiration.
After frying the tofu, I spread on some barbecue sauce (homemade from odds and ends in the fridge, never to be duplicated again) and the pesto. A quick visit under the broiler and voila! There’s dinner, with broccoli, portobellos, potato cakes (more on these later), and a cold beer. The hommus tasted good on the tofu too.