Seasonal Chef: Garlic Scapes


You may have noticed in the past few weeks a particularly interesting swirly curly stalk at the farmers markets, and wondering just exactly what they might be. They are shaded in the richest green color and from a distance seem to be soft and delicate. Up close they have a silky smooth feel, yet are stiff and dense. These interesting curly-ques are Garlic Scapes and grow above ground out of garlic. It should first be noted that there are many types of garlic, but they fall under two varieties: soft neck and hard neck. The soft neck variety is pretty much what we see every day at the store. It’s the variety where the cloves are packed together in a cluster.  When you crack open the hard neck cluster you find a dry brittle stalk that runs through the middle of the cloves. Both yield delicious results; however, the garlic scape only grows from the hard neck variety.

Garlic Scapes from Cabbage Hill Farm

The garlic scape is as beautiful as it is tasty, to be certain. The graceful curl growing out of the base of the garlic is truly a sight to behold. This is one I snapped at Cabbage Hill Farm. Until somewhat recently most farmers simply lopped these off and tossed them into the mulch. Someone got the brilliant idea to use them, and how lucky for us! Don’t let the look fool you. The taste is bright and sharp, a cross between garlic and onion. Simply Google it and you will find hundreds of recipes; predominately pestos

Saute scapes
I decided to use the garlic scapes in two ways this week: cooked and raw. Cooking them mellows out the flavor and and yields a mild smooth result. Simply chop them up and sauté for a few minutes.

Garlic Scape Pesto, Maria Reina

Cool and then process with nuts, cheese and olive oil. Mixed with warm pasta you really can’t go wrong. Click this link for see my super simple: Garlic Scape Pesto recipe.

Here is a quick idea to use the pesto for dinner: I got this beautiful bunch of mizuna from my Gaia’s Breath Farm CSA Farm Share box this week. After a quick sauté .. with a little garlic I set it aside. While I cooked some pasta, I oven roasted a beautiful fluke filet my neighbor caught over the weekend.

I set the roasted fluke and sautéed mizuna over the pasta tossed with the pesto. All together this dinner came together in less than 30 minutes.

Garlic Scape and Edamame Hummus, Maria Reina

Taking my scapes a step further I decided to try them raw. Blended with edamame and some spices I came up with a quick hummus that is sure to please your palate. Click this link to see my easy recipe for: Garlic Scape Hummus

Garlic scapes will be around for just another couple of weeks. Pick some up with weekend and try them out. I promise you won’t be disappointed! If you would like to taste my scape-creation please plan to pop by the Gossetts Farmers Market this coming Saturday or the Rye Farmer’s Market on Sunday.

Buon Appetito!




About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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