Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Garlic Scapes, World's Most Graceful Veggie, by Melinda

Garlic scapes are (or would be) the flowering tops of garlic plants--I say "would be" because to get the largest, fullest garlic bulbs from the garlic clove you originally planted, you need to prevent the
Garlic scapes (source)
garlic plant from flowering (the flower draws energy from the bulb). As the garlic clove tries to grow into a full plant, it sends up a graceful stalk with an elongated but roundish shape at the tip, a shape that eventually will open into a garlic flower. To prevent that, garlic farmers clip off those beautiful stalks and, wonder of wonders, they're not just edible, but scrumptious!

Btw, there's some disagreement about the tops of the scapes. Some people say to cut off the flower & the part above it b/c it's too tough. Other people use it. As well, some folks think there can be a tough section at the bottom of the scape, where it was cut, but I'd test that out before removing the bottom. These things are "green gold"!  Don't waste 'em!

Garlic scapes can be used to make a divine pesto (see the recipe in the share room this week) or you can click here for another. But they have other uses too, in soups, stews, omelets, etc.

Steamed Garlic Scapes--rather like asparagus or string beans, but with that extra something! Instructions:  you can steam them whole till just tender and serve w/ melted butter or olive oil, like asparagus.  Or, cut them in shorter pieces, steam, and serve instead of string beans. You also can add the shorter pieces to stir fries.

Scapes Roasted with Chicken--My friend David Wilson lightly coats the bottom of a baking pan with oil, then lays the scapes (either whole or cut) on the pan bottom and places chicken breasts, legs, or thighs atop the scapes.  Bake in 350 oven till chicken is done through. The scape flavor infuses the chicken, and the chicken flavor infuses the scapes. David also has done the same thing, scapes on bottom, chicken atop, on a George Foreman grill!

Scapes on Pizza--You can grill your scapes (whole) beforehand for a smoky taste, then plop them atop a pizza and bake for required time.  Click here for source & photos for Scapes Pizza.

White Bean & Garlic Scapes Dip

  • 1/3rd cup sliced garlic scapes (3 or 4)
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt, more to taste
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans (or white kidney beans), rinsed & drained
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, more for drizzling
In food processor, process scapes with lemon juice, salt, & pepper till finely chopped. Add beans & process to a rough paste. With motor running, slowly add oil through the feed tube & process till fairly smooth. Pulse in 2 or 3 tbsp water, or more, till mix is the consistency of a dip. Adjust seasoning to taste, spread out on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, & more salt if desired. (Source)

Sauteed Garlic Scapes--recipe by William Woys Weaver, from Mother Earth News (click here)
Sauteed Scapes (source)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 8 oz. young garlic scapes, trimmed [of either top or bottom, or neither]
  • 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup haloumi cheese, cut in very small dice (haloumi is a sheep or goat cheese made in Cyprus & available at large markets here. It doesn't melt. But other salty cheeses can be substituted, e.g. aged cheddar or aged chevre)
Heat oil  in broad skillet & add sugar. Stir to caramelize the sugar for about 2-3 minutes & add the scapes. Cover & saute over medium-high heat for no more than 3 min., shaking the pan a bit to keep scapes from burning. After 3 min., add chopped tomatoes and wine. Stir, then cover & reduce heat to low; continue cooking for 5-6 min., till scapes are tender but not soft. Season, then add haloumi and parsley and serve at room temp. Can be used as an hors d'oeuvre or side dish. Or even a main dish for two people!

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