Thursday, June 25, 2009

farmer's market find: garlic scapes

last weekend,
we woke up on sunday morning
crossing our fingers that
it wasn't raining.
it was.
yet, we must have mustered up
all of our determination
because within 10 minutes,
it was only drizzling,
and 10 minutes after that,
it had stopped.

too worried to tempt fate,
we quickly tossed on
jeans
zip-ups,
flip-flops,
grabbed our reusable bags
and hopped in the car.
we had spent all week
talking about the newly
and we were going, come...
well, come wet weather or not.

we spent the first five minutes
looking, scoping everything out,
and the next 15 shopping for
freshly shelled peas
icicle radishes
teeny baby carrots
and baby red onions.
we turned to leave, nearly missing
a new crate at the table
we had visited first.
i was so excited to see garlic scapes.
i've heard about them,
know that they're the stalks that grow
from the garlic plant itself and
are certainly garlicky, but a mild
cousin of its cloves.
but i had never before tried them and
didn't really know what to do with them.
regardless, i grabbed a large handful.

once home, i ran to my
cookbooks
and
the internet,
learning that the most common
use was pesto. i didn't really want
to use them that way -
i had just made a pesto
two weeks before
and i have issues,
always feeling like i need
to step outside the box.
but, after a little while,
i decided not to fight
it and just make a batch myself.
every time i thought about
the pesto, however,
i worried that
the garlic would be too strong,
leading me to the decision to
cut the scapes into 1-inch(ish) lengths
and quickly saute the pieces first.

this taught me two things:
sauteed scapes are amazing,
and could pass for garlicky asparagus.
the second, is that cooking significantly
minimizes the garlic level.
so much so,
that when i tossed them
into the food processor with
toasted almonds
and grated parm,
i also added two raw scapes
to give the mixture more punch.
and, yes, i tend not to use nearly
enough olive oil in my pestos,
but still, i thought the blend
was lacking flavor.
so i tossed in more parm,
some lemon juice,
another scape
and finally, relentingly,
basil.
i didn't want to use the basil.
this was supposed to be
a garlic scape pesto.
i wanted the pesto to maintain
the beautiful peridot green
it was busy boasting,
not turn a deep emerald.
but after a 1/4 cup,
and another
and another,
it was clear that i had
made the right decision.
the basil simply heightened
the other ingredients,
while adding an herbal touch
that made a big difference,
overall.

that first night, i tossed
a big spoonful with
adorable mini gnocchi,
more toasted almonds and a
significant splash of the pasta's
cooking water.
fast and delicious - and the hot
water more than made up for
not using a huge amount of olive
oil (by pesto's standards).

a couple nights later,
i dolloped the leftovers over
pizza dough along with
shrimp
mozzarella
red pepper flakes
finely chopped preserved meyer lemon
and a couple whole
raw garlic scapes.
both ways, very good.
both ways, very fresh.

if i stumble across another crate
at a future farmer's market,
i will buy them.
but because they
were so remarkable both
sauteed
and
roasted,
those would probably be my go to dishes.
or maybe, this, which i'm regretting
i didn't see earlier (and wouldn't have
been able to tell you about if i had actually
posted this entry according to my planned
timetable, yesterday). turn anything
into a hummus-like dip,
and i'm curious.
add these curly cue stalks,
and i'm sold.
garlic scape pesto
this pesto is absolutely saucier when first made - it firms up significantly after a stay in the fridge. if you want a mixture with more olive oil, drizzle in extra, stopping when the blended veggies no longer absorb the oil.

15 garlic scapes, divided
3/4 cup fresh basil
1/3 cup almonds, toasted
1/2 cup grated parm
1/2 large juicy lemon, juiced
kosher salt
cracked black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

cut 12 scapes into 1" lengths. over medium-high heat, warm large skillet coated with cooking spray or olive oil. when hot, add garlic scapes and cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until crisp tender (try one - the garlic level should not overwhelm you). let cool. meanwhile, cut remaining scapes into 1" lengths (or, cut all at one time and separate the 12 from the 3 immediately).

in bowl of food processor, combine cooked and uncooked garlic scapes, basil, toasted almonds and grated parm. pulse several times or until finely chopped and combined. add lemon juice; season with salt and pepper to taste. pulse twice. while motor is running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until emulsified, adding more if necessary or desired. use immediately or cover and refrigerate. you can also freeze pesto.

3 comments:

Lisa said...

wow, your pizza looks amazing! nice idea to add the lemon.

doughgirl said...

Nice! I was convinced that you were going to be an old pro at scapes, so your post makes me feel like I didn't miss the boat :)

I agree with Lisa, that pizza looks incredible!

brooke said...

lisa, thank you - i'm trying to use those lemons anyway possible.

col - no, i really didn't know quite what to do. the whole thing was an experiment.