Garlic Scape Pesto

Friday, June 01, 2007

It's that time of year again; the garlic plants are getting their scapes. These are the gracefully curly flower stems that grow on hardneck varieties of garlic such as the German Extra Hardy type we planted last fall. When I first grew garlic three years ago, I learned that it is best to cut off the scapes once they start curling into a loop. Removing the scapes allows the plants to devote their energy to producing large bulbs rather than flowers. And we most certainly want large garlic bulbs!

So now it's time to enjoy these fleeting delicacies of the spring garden. Garlic scapes can be used in the same way one would use garlic gloves: in soups, stir-frys, salads, and more. Garlic scape pesto is an intriguing recipe I've seen on other blogs and in news articles. I've been wanting to give it a try.

Garlic Scapes and Parsley

Pesto is a dish that invites all sorts of improvisation. (For a little inspiration, take a look at all these non-basil pesto recipes.) I did not follow any specific recipe for my own version of scape pesto. I just made it up as I went along.

I used about six or seven fresh garlic scapes cut into one-inch pieces, and I added a small handful of parsley to break up a the garlic flavor a bit. I was worried the scapes would be too strong on their own.

Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese and Walnuts

In a food processor, add to the greens some grated Parmesan cheese and toasted walnuts. Pour in a few glugs of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and give everything a whirl. Out comes this most deliciously fragrant green concoction.

Mix the pesto into your pasta of choice. Add a little pasta water and a few spritzes of fresh lemon juice. The pasta water thins the pesto without adding more olive oil (for the calorie-conscious among us). The lemon juice just adds a bit of freshness at the end.

Give the dish a final round of salt and black pepper, and there you have it.

Garlic Scape Pesto on Pasta

The garlic scapes tasted less pungent and milder than garlic cloves. But even so, this dish really packed a punch. I absolutely loved it (though I had serious garlic breath to contend with afterwards. I'd recommend eating this in the company of loved ones and friends who are eating the same thing!) This pesto was fantastic on pasta and I think it would make a great sandwich spread, too. I will definitely make this again.

A full-bellied *five yums* for garlic scape pesto!

Related Post: A Prelude to Garlic
No garlic in your garden?
Try finding garlic scapes at a farmers' market near you.

This post is part of Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted at Kalyn's Kitchen. To get a taste of Weekend Herb Blogging, visit Kalyn's Weekly Recap Archives. She's on week #85. Go Kalyn!


Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

Great post. I made this last spring, but I love your idea of adding some parsley. Mine was a bit strong, and the garlic breath after was intense. If I find scapes this year at my farmers market I'll try your idea.

8:03 AM  
Blogger Alanna Kellogg said...

Oh and hear I passed up a whole pile of scapes last week! I had a few from my own pot-bound garlic plants (now intertwined with petunias til they can be harvested) and the flavor was just SO strong I couldn't imagine enjoying eating them.

8:23 AM  
Blogger janelle said...

I was late to the game on scapes. Just learned of them last year, where I saw them at a Farmer's Market. They are so pretty to look at, it makes me warm all over!

I recently made cilantro pesto, my first non-basil foray!!

2:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my - I love pesto in all it's incarnations but that just looks amazing. Can't wait to try it (must find scapes...)

3:39 PM  
Blogger Tira said...

Fab post, Yum yum. You now have me going out to the garden to see what, besides basil, to try next for pesto! A couple months ago, an abundance of pineapple sage made me do a search online, and I found a recipe for pineapple sage pesto to serve with fish-but instead of garlic and nuts one used lemon juice, chili and honey, for a hot, sweet, perfumed kick.

3:40 PM  
Blogger Jane O' said...

Oh boy, you are all making me itch to try some new pesto flavors. I planted some garlic for the first time this year. I'll have to gp out and check for scapes. I really don't know what I'm doing there. I'm not much into growing vegetables other than tomatoes and peppers. Thanks for the hints on garlic scapes.

4:10 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

Late spring/early summer: it certainly IS pesto time. Thanks for the great idea!

12:15 AM  
Blogger Kylee Baumle said...

I don't think I've ever had pesto, but after reading this post, I want some!

1:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am making this for supper, Christa!

9:52 AM  
Blogger Anita said...

Oh, another interesting recipe that looks so delicious!

I planted some garlic last year - I guess it should be ready to be harvested now - but I never tried it so far... Now I should!

Happy gardening!

Best wishes from Germany,

3:16 PM  
Blogger Muum said...

looks very tasty and fun to try! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

4:06 PM  
Blogger Whyite said...

Looks good. Never had pesto before but I might give this one a try. Now all I need to do is grow some garlic.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Helene said...

What a yummy dish. I´ve to try it soon. :))

5:16 AM  
Blogger kathy said...

Thanks for the info about scapes. I've never heard of these. I'm growing garlic for the first time this year so I will watch for these delicacies! Sounds yummy.

9:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks fantastic. I just picked up a bunch of garlic scapes yesterday and I was debating what to do with them. I think I have my answer!

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


7:11 AM  

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