What they are:
Those swirly, curly green stalks with tightly closed buds on top that you are seeing farmer’s markets or in your CSA box right about now — those are garlic scapes. They are the tops of the growing garlic plants. Farmers and gardeners harvest them at this time of year so that they won’t drain nutrients from the garlic bulbs that will be dug up in a couple of months, plump and glorious and ready for drying. The scapes themselves are sweet and herbal and redolent with garlicky flavors. The texture is similar to a very firm asparagus, with the snap of a good green bean.
What to do with them:
Garlic scapes can be can be used wherever you would use garlic. Try them roasted, grilled or sauteed in butter. Thinly shaved and eaten raw in a salad. Blitz them with olive oil and parmesan for a fragrant and pungent pesto. Also very excellent pickled.
What some chefs are doing with them right now:
At The Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland, Chef Jonathon Sawyer is serving up Triple Garlic Semolina Pirogi with goats milk, soft herbs, Thaxton organic scapes, cloves & dehydrated music garlic. At Lincoln Ristorante in NYC, Chef Jonathan Benno has a Strozzapreti w/scallop and lobster sausage, hot peppers, and garlic scapes. The Ace in Toronto is featuring a melange of rare grilled ahi tuna, seared bay scallops, Ontario garlic scapes, arugula and green peas, garnished with a chili aioli. In Atlanta, BoccaLupo has an egg yolk tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and garlic scapes. At Detroit gastropub St. Cece’s Pub, chef Adam Verville tops quinoa with a seasonal stir-fry of garlic scapes, baby bok choy, cashews and avocado and pork belly. And at NYC's Gramercy Tavern, roasted eggplant w/ricotta, garlic scapes and sea urchin was a recent special.
What great scape dishes have you had? And what is your favorite way to prepare them? Check out our recipes for Garlic Scape Pesto
and Pickled Garlic Scapes