Seasonal Chef: Signs of Summer Beginning with Garlic Scapes


The summer solstice is upon us. This coming Sunday the sun will be at its highest peak and we will enjoy the longest day of the year. How delightful for those celebrating Father’s Day! Summer also marks the bursting of many beautiful things at the farmers markets. In particular a special ingredient only found in June and early July: garlic scapes. It’s graceful curl growing up, and out, of the hard neck garlic. They are cut from the garlic plant now to allow the bulb to grow bigger. The thicker and denser the stem, the more pungent the flavor. Garlic scapes have a bright garlic-onion bite that should not be missed.


Garlic Scapes

Look for smooth stems that are solid and not soft. Store your garlic scapes in the crisper bin of the fridge in a thin produce bags with a paper towel. They will keep for several weeks as long as they stay dry.

This weekend you can find me in two locations using garlic scapes. On Friday afternoon I will be teaching a cooking class at Hilltop Hanover Farm from 4:00 – 6:00. Click here for details on the: Farm Stand Cooking Class. I will be taking several just-harvested ingredients, including garlic scapes, and creating several dishes. On Saturday you can find me at the Chappaqua Farmers Market from 10:00 to Noon.

Buon Appetito!

One year ago: Strawberries of June
Two years ago: Creative Ideas with Spinach
Three years ago: What is a CSA?

Garlic Scape and Mizuna Salad
4 servings

3/4 cup garlic scape stems, 1/4″ dice
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
1 bunch of mizuna, rinsed well
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups cooked rice, quinoa or a grain of choice
1/3 – 1/2 cup of chopped fresh parsley

1. In a large saute pan cook the garlic scapes with 1/4 cup of olive oil, over medium heat. Season with salt and pepper.
2. While the scapes cook slice the mizuna stems thinly, alone about 1/4″, and the leaves in a rough chop. After the scapes cook for about 3-5 minutes add the mizuna stems and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the leaves and let them just wilt, about a minute. Turn off the heat and toss in the rice or grain you are using along with the lemon and lemon zest.
3. Mix in the parsley and taste for seasoning, adding additional salt pepper or olive oil. Serve warm, room temperature or cold.

Cook’s Notes: Cooking with garlic scapes adds a nice punch of flavor to your rice or grain side dish. If you like lime swap that out for the lemon and use cilantro as your herb. If you don’t have any leftover grains, start that first, and then begin cooking the garlic scapes. The grain will be done about the time you are ready to toss it in.

Recipe created by Maria Reina of Bella Cucina Maria


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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