What is that tangle of green curlicued shoots? Before the bulbs mature, garlic plants produce flower stems known as garlic scapes. Farmers usually remove the scapes to direct the plants energy toward bigger bulbs, but rather than compost these cuttings, smart growers harvest the scapes while they are still young and tender so they can imbue chosen dishes with their sweet, mild garlic flavor.
Garlic scapes can be sauteed and served over a pasta, with eggs, as part of a stock, or pickled. My favorite way to use them is in a fragrant pesto, either alone or paired with basil.
AROMATIC GARLIC SCAPES PESTO
1/2 pound garlic scapes (cut into 1 inch pieces)
handful basil leaves
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
fresh ground pepper to taste
sea salt to taste
Place the scapes, basil, pistachios, yeast, lemon juice, salt and pepper into a food processor and blend. Meanwhile, slowly add the olive to the mixture, pulsing to incorporate the oil and create a coarse pesto.
This light summery pesto is perfect served over a pasta (gluten free for me) or toast points, and can be refrigerated for up to a week or can be frozen for future use. Not sure where to find them? Check with your local farmers market during the early summer months.