Garlic Scapes, or “scape” for short, is another really cool ingredients you can typically find in the late spring and early summer at the Farmers Market. If you love garlic – then this is the ingredient for you!
Scapes are the long twisty tendril that grow above hardneck garlic. There are several varieties of garlic that are divided into basically two categories: hardneck and softneck. Hardnecks have a hard stalk running through the center and the cloves are circled around it. Softneck has no stalk and the cloves are tightly packed around each other. What you generally find in the grocery store are the soft neck varieties. Hardnecks are what yield the scape and usually are found at the farmers market. As luck would have it this coming weekend you will be able to find them at the Rye Brook Farmers Market at St. Paul's Church on King Street!
Scapes are harvested when the plant is young so the bulb will grower bigger. These curly tendrils are smooth and dense to the touch, and have a sharp garlicky bite in flavor. Scapes contain a fair amount of protein, vitamin C and calcium. They are a versatile ingredient to work with: you can eat them raw, grilled or combined into something. The most typical application is making them into a pesto.
After doing a bit of research I decided to go ahead and do a pesto for you .. but of course put my own spin on it! Most articles and recipes I came across talked about using the scapes in their raw state. I wondered how the flavor would change after I grilled them? The result, after getting a nice char, was a beautiful mellowing of their sharpness with a hint of smokiness.
This pesto can be used a couple of different ways: first, you can spread a little on a crisp slice of bread and top with some grilled squash for an appetizer; or you can add it to your favorite pasta.
To read more about garlic scapes and see my easy recipes using them click here.