A few weeks ago, Dr. L and I were making our weekly lap around the Regional Market barns when we came across a table full of garlic scapes. I vaguely remembered seeing the things featured over the years on food blogs, and so I scooped up a bundle, put them in the crisper, and then forgot about them while we went off gallivanting around upstate New York with our lovely-in-many-ways house guest, S. When we dropped her off at the airport and came home to peer in the fridge and try to remember what was in there, I found the scapes.
Here’s the thing: on good days, I like to think that we know some things about food and that we’re fairly in-tune with the seasons since we do our best to eat in-season and locally. But after surveying the fridge that night I went out to the garden to check on the bed of hardneck garlic, which I’m growing for the first time, and I realized that those things growing out of the top of each plant were scapes, just like I had up in the kitchen. I was completely surprised by this development. Despite my long-time plans for a kitchen garden and the fact that our garden is now in its (sort of pitiful) second year, I am still not used to the idea that food might come out of it. Food comes from the market! Other people grow it! My Sainted Dead Grandma, who kept a half-acre garden for at least 40 years, would be appalled.
And so it was that I had a double batch of scapes to figure out what to do with. I made pesto, and it was easy and wonderful (assuming you like a pesto that really packs a punch.) First thing you do is wash the scapes and chop them roughly.
Then blend them up with lemon juice, olive oil, pine nuts, good parmeggiano-reggiano, sea salt, and fresh pepper. I tend to go by sight and taste, but if you’d like some proportions, they look something like this. Process it in a food processor or blender until you come up with something with an appropriately pesto-like consistency.
Our bale o’ scapes made two dinners (tossed with fresh linguini) as well as three quart bags full of frozen pesto cubes.
Next year, I’ll be happy to know what to do with these — and also where they come from.