11 July 2009

Garlic Scape Pesto

Have you ever used garlic scapes? Garlic scapes are the flower stalks that emerge from the ground near the end of May and into June. Since the scapes flower and drag the energy from the garlic bulb into the seed head, it is crucial to redirect the energy from producing a flower back into the bulb. The scapes are edible, but many gardeners erroneously cut off and discard this tasty part of the plant that can be used in stir fry, pasta sauces, and anything that would benefit from its mild garlicky flavor. I prefer to make pesto with my scapes and then freeze portions of it for a summer long treat and as an alternative to all of that Pesto alla genovese I tend to consume when my basil matures.

In preparing the scapes, a good washing is crucial since dirt really likes all of those crevices near the seed head. I know many people who prefer to cut off the flowering seed, but it is actually edible, so I leave it on. I do snap off the very end of the scape, opposite the seed head, since just like asparagus they tend to be tougher and more fibrous. Just snap it off as you would asparagus and swirl it in a food processor with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, parmesan cheese and if you prefer, walnuts. I've seen recipes that call for Italian parsley before, but honestly, it isn't really necessary. I prefer to sprinkle parsley over pasta dishes once plated, and since garlic scapes are pretty flavorful on their own, you could definitely leave it out.

Garlic Scape Pesto

1 bunch garlic scapes, washed and chopped
2 tbsp crushed walnuts
1/2-3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
dash of kosher salt
generous sprinkle of fresh ground black pepper

1. Toss all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Add more oil slowly if ingredients aren't wet enough.

So what did I do with my garlic scape pesto booty? Why, pasta of course! While in Chicago, I stocked up on some imported pastas at Angelo Caputo's (aka mecca for me) and chose orrechiette, a Puglian dome-shaped pasta with a little bite to it. It mirrors the bite of the garlic scape pesto and counters the soft cannellini beans and sausages I bought a couple weeks ago at C & L Meat Locker in Moscow.



Cucinista said...

Dish looks amazing! I love garlic scapes -- I pick them up in China town, actually.

foodcreate said...

Your Recipes Sounds Delicious ! I love Chicago Garlic Scape Pesto Tasty I going to try it!!!

Thanks for sharing your reicpe:)

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Jessica@FoodMayhem said...

I love how funky garlic scapes look too! Love the pesto idea with sausage and orechiette.

The Cooking Photographer said...

I have garlic scapes sitting in my fridge and walnuts on the counter!! Thanks!

And I'm not sure which stand Hermitage was, but I always hit my favorite one first. It's run by two women and their stuff is amazing! I pay a little more, but so worth it. I even bought a dozen amazing eggs from them.


The Cooking Photographer said...

I love C&L meatlocker too!

Why do you live in Pullman lol?

The Cooking Photographer said...

Hmm If I get a good shot of this meal I might blog it, with your name and post link of course.

Would that be ok? And what would you like to be called? I usually refer to people by their blogs and first names (or first and last), but however you would like would work.


EMC said...

Yes, please feel free to link the recipe. Just call me Erin, Erin Mae (Forrest Gump anyone?). Feel free to throw in any other herbs you have on hand--I've been experimenting with fresh basil and oregano, and even chocolate mint lately (after my plant absolutely exploded).

I adore Moscow, but unfortunately since I'm a grad student at WSU, I have to live in Washington to receive my in-residence status. I would much rather live there; it would be nice to walk to the Farmer's Market and the Co-Op!

I know the two women you are talking about. Their stand is fantastic and I usually get my lettuce and kale from them. The Hermitage folk are on the same aisle about halfway down. They have organic Chinese herbal teas and their eggs are often even better than the other stand. I do the bulk of my overbuying in that row of stands!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Hi Erin,

I'm not sure I can use this pesto as is for what I was doing tonight, but am freezing it for pasta later. This is my first time using garlic scapes and I didn't realize how strong they would be lol!

It will great diluted into something else though, like your pasta here. The flavor is great.