If you’re growing garlic in your garden and you’ve not yet snipped those pesky seedheads off, so that your bulbs mature, now’s the time! Cut scapes at their base and store with the cut ends in a jar of water on your kitchen counter or floor until use—they’ll keep for up to several days.
This tasty garlic byproduct became a sort of delicacy in 2008 when The New York Times ran a feature on it.
Garlic scapes are flavorful but they can be fibrous and quite chewy—so I recommend steaming them for my pesto recipe below.
My upcoming cookbook offers other delicious recipes for this early summer crop.
Garlic Scape Pesto
Yield: about 3 cups
¼ cup shelled walnuts
2 cups prepared garlic scapes
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup grated Romano cheese
¼ cup fresh basil
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Set a metal steamer basket in the bottom of a Dutch oven. Add water to just below the basket, cover and bring to a boil.
Rinse scapes. Head and tail scapes with kitchen scissors.
Place prepared scapes in the steamer basket, cover and steam for 8 minutes. Drain well.
Put walnuts in the bowl of a food processor with chopping blade in place.
Process nuts until finely chopped.
Add all remaining ingredients to food processor.
Process until well ground. You may stop once or twice to push large pieces into the blade’s range.
Stir 1 cup of pesto into freshly cooked pasta in a bowl to coat, to serve 4.
Leftover pesto can be tightly covered and refrigerated for several days or frozen up to three months. It’s also great in pasta salad, with fish and as a pasta filling.
Dan’s Papers Senior Editor Stacy Dermont has written over 1,000 restaurant reviews and articles for Dan’s Papers. In addition to her weekly column and reviews for Dan’s Papers, Stacy’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, Fine Gardening and Avenue magazine. She is currently at work on a farm-to-table cookbook and is shopping her first novel Merry Mary.