Attention all eaters and cooks: garlic scapes are your new best friend!
These twirly, green, firm-but-not-woody stalks are the blossom end of the garlic plant that farmers and gardeners trim before it flowers, allowing the plant’s main energy to focus on developing the bulb underground for mature harvest. This time of year they show up in our CSA box. And our local garlic farmers know what they’re doing, so you know they’ll be very good!
The result: a bright, garlicky sidekick to your usual kitchen fare. And here’s what I love (and it’s the same reason I like ramps, and one of the many reasons why I love leeks) because I’m a
lazy busy cook: it’s a stalk, not a bulb. So chopping is simple and quick and requires no “commitment” like a garlic bulb, that might have to be messily abandoned when a kid is doing something dangerous with the stove knobs or the dog NEEDS to go out or the wine MUST be sipped.
Really, chopping an onion or garlic bulb is not difficult, and I do find deep satisfaction out of handling an onion with care, but that’s another story (best and most richly told by Robert Farrar Capon– this is a must-read.)
Because they’re young, scapes will be brighter and fresher than the deep and mature garlic bulbs (kind of like your Emma Watson to your Maggie Smith), so use them to balance a rich dish.
You can substitute scapes for garlic almost anytime, but here are some ideas:
-omelets or scrambles
If you have extra, pulse it in the food processor and freeze it. Double-bag it or store in a glass mason jar in the freezer, or everything including your ice, your peanut butter ice cream, and your frozen peas will come with a hint of scape (not that I know from experience or anything.)
I hope you enjoy these as much as we do! Try my recipe for Early Summer Tabouli.
Early Summer Quinoa Tabouli with Scapes
1 bunch parsley, leaves trimmed and chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed, cooked in salted water, and cooled (can be done a day ahead)
1/2 of a zucchini, chopped into small, even pieces, about the size of a halved cherry tomato
1 or 2 garlic scapes, finely chopped
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
black pepper and kosher salt
1/2 lemon, zested and squeezed
Whisk together lemon juice, pepper, salt, and scapes in a bowl, and drizzle in olive oil until emulsified. Check for seasoning, and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
Add 1/4 cup dressing to your quinoa and refrigerate while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, or up to 24 hours.
Put zucchini into a small pot of cold water, bring to a boil, drain, and chill. (Chip’s method!)
In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, parsley, green onions, tomatoes, mint, and zucchini, and toss with the rest of the dressing. Cover and chill. Best served the next day, if you can wait.