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. Botanically speaking, scapes are any leafless flower stalks of a plant that grow directly from the root, hence garlic scapes 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 or green onions. 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:
Woodbury clams with garlic scapes, manzanilla sherry and verbena recently made a seasonal appearance at Toro NYC. New on the menu at Harold Dieterle
's Kin Shop is stir fried smoked bluefish fried rice w/ steamed egg, garlic scapes, pickled ramps & sriracha.
Spoke Wine Bar in Somerville, MA had a recent special of Paccheri with fennel sausage, morels, and garlic scapes. At Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon is pairing garlic scapes with grilled pork loin, snow peas, and cherry mostarda. Thunderbird in Indianapolis is going super seasonal with soft shell crab, snap peas, sesame leaf, Thai chili, and garlic scapes. In Denver, Bones served up cuttlefish with a black garlic sausage, alkaline nero cavatelli, garlic scapes, and scape flowers, and award winning Pittsburgh bar, Butcher & The Rye featured ricotta gnudi with Benton's ham, a fava bean pesto, garlic scapes & crispy pig ears
What great scape dishes have you spotted? And what is your favorite way to prepare them? Check out our recipes for Garlic Scape Pesto
and Pickled Garlic Scapes