During the summer months, farmers’ markets and community gardens burst not only with produce we know, like fresh basil, but some varietals we aren’t as familiar with, like garlic scapes. When you think of garlic, you most likely picture an entire bulb (or head) but as it grows, the stalk is referred to as the garlic scape. If you take the opportunity to pick up a bunch, you may just introduce yourself to a new favourite. It makes beautiful garlicky green pesto without the harshness of raw garlic cloves, which is in turn perfect for marinating a bowl of small bocconicini. Pesto bocconcini is the perfect summer finger food – great for picnics, patio parties, even added to pasta salads and antipasto platters.
How do you recognize a garlic scape? They’re long, wiggly and green, perfectly smooth, with a pointy bulb at one end and a not-so-subtle garlic flavour crossed with that of a chive or green onion. You can chop them and add them to soups, stir-fries, salads.. or you could make a batch of oily, garlicky pesto to stash in the fridge and add to everything from fish to pasta and potatoes.
Garlic scape pesto also makes the perfect accessory for potato or pasta salad, roast chicken or pork, a wide bowl of minestrone, and makes a great marinade, especially for mellow cheeses that don’t have much flavour. Try picking up some baby bocconcini, drain them and toss with fresh pesto; refrigerate for an hour or to to allow the flavors to marry, then serve them on the patio with a cold bottle of something bubbly.
Garlic Scape Pesto
Inspired by What Geeks Eat
a couple handfuls of fresh garlic scapes, cut into pieces a couple inches long
a big handful of fresh basil
1/2-1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
a handful of walnuts, toasted
1/2 cup(ish) extra-virgin olive oil or cold-pressed canola oil
Put everything but the oil into a food processor and pulse, pouring the oil in a thin stream through the feed tube, until roughly or smoothly puréed. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to a week or two.