Things have been hectic lately since the Portlandivore household is moving next week. (Don't tell the cat yet, since she will wonder why I'm taking up perfectly good boxes by putting anything other than her in them.) So there's my slightly lame apology for not posting regularly for the hungry masses, though I've certainly been cooking and baking up a storm with multiple recipes involving strawberries, rhubarb, asparagus, zucchini, basil, and last but not least, various forms of garlic: green garlic, fresh garlic, and a new hit for me, garlic scapes. What are garlic scapes, you ask? They are the flower stalks that grow on a garlic plant and farmers trim them to encourage the plant to focus on growing fat tasty garlic bulbs instead of pretty flowers. Should they just throw them away? But of course not, you shall cry, one fist raised into the air waving a few dollars at the market cashier, the other fist lovingly clutching a bunch of scapes. Garlic scapes can be relatively straight like the ones below I bought at the farmer's market, or they can look like long curlicues. They have the texture and even some slight flavor of thin asparagus stalks, though be not mistaken, the garlic scape lives and breathes (or at least you'll be breathing it, mwhahaha) mild garlic flavor.
I had never used garlic scapes before, but Google came to the rescue, as it generally does in the case of under-utilized, unsung heroes of the farmer's market world. Basil is rapidly springing up at the farmer's market now since we've had such a nice warm spring, but just two weekends ago when I was doing my shopping, I decided I would try making a pesto with garlic scapes instead of the usual basil. My inspiration was this recipe.
1 1/2 cups sliced garlic scapes
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
one or 2 squeezes from a lemon half
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
In the work bowl of a food processor, add the garlic scapes, pine nuts and cheese. Start streaming in the olive oil through the feed tube while pulsing the mixture together. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once all of the olive oil is added, to ensure there are no bits of scapes escaping (I had to say it). Add a little lemon juice, salt, and black pepper to taste.
The scape pesto was fantastic simply spread on slices of toasted baguette, or equally tasty stirred last minute into one's favorite pasta dish.