A Prelude to Garlic
Over the past couple of weeks, we've cut off the scapes. (For garlic-growing newbies out there, the scapes are the curly stalks that emerge when the plant is ready to form a flower bud.) So the theory goes that removing the scapes will allow the plant to put more energy into forming a bulb rather than a flower.
We use the scapes in stir-frys usually. The other day I chopped and fried a few in olive oil with red pepper flakes.
This became the foundation for a simple pasta dish topped with toasted walnuts, fresh basil and cheese. (Sorry, I ate all of the finished product before taking a photo. I was really hungry.)
Other uses for garlic scapes? The Washington Post recently suggested a recipe for Garlic Scape Pesto, which sounds like something I'd like to try. Kalyn, the creator of Weekend Herb Blogging, is also trying pesto, and she provides a helpful roundup of other scape-worthy menus she found around the Web. In addition, The Chocolate Lady posted a recipe for Fedelini, Walnuts, Chard and Garlic Scapes. That's one I'll keep in mind when my chard goes berserk again and puts me in another bolting vegetable conundrum.
There's a very short window of opportunity each year to enjoy scapes -- that's what makes them such a unique and special treat. For me, they're a tempting prelude to the main attraction that's soon to come.