I’ve spotted them—in my own garden and at farmers’ markets—just in the last week: Garlic scapes. Hooray!
What is a garlic scape, you ask? The scape is the little curlicue sprout that shoots from the top of a hardneck garlic plant. Many home gardeners and professional growers cut off the garlic scape to direct the plant’s energy toward growing a full, fat bulb (the underground part), which is harvested in July around these parts. (See here for a how-to on growing garlic. You should absolutely try it.)
Garlic scapes have a milder, “greener” flavor than garlic cloves, and you can chop the green parts and use them in place of (or in addition to) the cloves.
I snipped a few garlic scapes from my garden last weekend, chopped them and tossed them with a pint of cherry tomatoes, some fresh thyme, and a glug of olive oil, then grill-roasted them in a foil packet for 20 minutes. Divine!!
What to do with garlic scapes?
- Finely mince 2 garlic scapes and stir them into your favorite vinaigrette salad dressing along with a tablespoon of fresh tarragon or chives
- Add finely minced garlic scapes to homemade mayonnaise
- Sauté chopped garlic scapes and add them to tomato sauce for pasta
- Toss some in a marinade for grilled chicken
- This weekend, I plan to make a batch of my friend Soup Addict’s homemade ricotta cheese and stir in some minced fresh herbs and garlic scapes
- Dorie Greenspan turns them into garlic scape pesto.
Like everything wonderful, garlic scapes are a fleeting, seasonal pleasure. If you can find a bagful at your farmers’ market, by all means bring some home.
Do you cook with garlic scapes? Please share your recipes and ideas here!