I love growing my own garlic. (For details on how to grow garlic from scratch, read here.) It’s brilliantly simple—separate the cloves and stick ’em in the ground. Planting garlic is an enormous act of faith: You plant it just before a frost and then … you wait. Over the winter, little green sprouts poke out, and then come spring, the stuff grows like weeds.
At the farmers’ markets lately, I’ve been seeing garlic scapes for sale. What’s a garlic scape? It’s the curly, pointy, bright-green shoot—the flower—that forms before the bulb matures. Some gardeners believe that it’s best to trim off the scapes to redirect the plant’s full energy into developing a larger garlic bulb. Even better, garlic scapes are tasty: less pungent than garlic cloves, with a fresh, “green” taste that pairs exceptionally well with other spring vegetables like asparagus and leek.
Last night, we tossed some fresh black-pepper fettuccine with a sauté of asparagus, spinach, leek and garlic scapes (which I’d roughly chopped). The dish tasted deeply, essentially, wonderfully of spring. I’m also keen to try Dorie Greenspan’s recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto.