Garlic Scapes – Who Knew?

Well, those who grow garlic, that’s who knew.  And also chefs.  And peasants from one hundred years ago.  And garlic farmers, homesteaders, foodies…everyone except me apparently.  My friend Katie was here a couple of weeks ago, and while checking out my garlic patch, she spotted the scapes.  I’d noticed them before, but didn’t think anything of them because like all of the allium family, they send off a flower before the greens die back in late summer.  What I didn’t know, and Katie told me, is that they are delicious.

Huh?

That was my very eloquent response.  I had never thought of eating a scape, but apparently they’re quite the rare find.  Not in Katie’s world, however, because my friend David (you remember David?) is her Father in Law.  And he wastes nothing.  He’s French Chef all the way.  And that was that.

Until the next Sunday.  While listening to American Public Media’s The Splendid Table, a woman called in who had seen garlic scapes at the local farmers market and wondered what to do with them.  And Lynne Rossetto Kasper, in her best radio voice, went gaga over garlic scapes.  Again I thought…”Huh…maybe I should do something with those…”

And finally, on Facebook, Katie posted a link to lacto fermenting garlic scapes.  (This was not the link she posted) That was it.  I had better do something because that was the universe telling me “do not waste this opportunity – I gave you options, now go pick them and do something.”

So I did.  I went out to the garlic patch yesterday morning and started snipping the beautiful, twisty, odd, aromatic scapes.  Then I panicked!  NOW WHAT!?  How long will they keep?!  Turns out, there was no need to panic.  Apparently they keep for quite some time, months even.  (see the link below to the recipe for garlic scape hummus) Like everything else, the fresher the better they taste, but they will keep in the freezer or the fridge for a while.

Next, I looked up how to cook this odd looking assortment of greens I’d just taken from my garlic patch.  I turned to Serious Eats.  Garlic scape pesto?  Garlic scape hummus?  Scape soup?  Sauteed scapes?  Grilled garlic scapes?!  Who KNEW?!  I set my sights on the pesto since it can be frozen.  But then I was talked into grilling at least *some* by my friend Corrina.  So that’s what we did.  The rest of them are still in my fridge waiting to be pestoed.

So here’s how I made mine.  BTW, these would make a FABULOUS appetizer at a dinner party or grill out.

GRILLED GARLIC SCAPES

  • Wash the scapes
  • You can snip the long top off the flower part – but leave the bud.  This part gets a bit unruly when you’re trying to eat them. Or you can leave it on until after you grill it, and cut them into smaller pieces after they’re grilled.  I liked them, because they get really crunchy on the grill, and I like the contrast in texture.
  • Toss the scapes with about 2-3 TBSP of olive oil or vegetable oil.  Sprinkle generously with sea salt or kosher salt or whatever salt you desire.  If you like a strong peppery taste, sprinkle with some freshly cracked peppercorns.  Pepper blooms when heated, so tread lightly if your family isn’t big on a peppery taste.
  • During the last 5 minutes or so of your grilling, place the scapes directly on the grates of the grill.  Flip them frequently until they turn a bright green and parts are toasted well. Remove from the grill.
  • If you want to add a little pizzazz, drizzle fresh lemon juice and zest over the scapes and enjoy!

WHO KNEW?!

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