Garlic Scape Pesto
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.
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.
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.
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!