Greetings fellow garlic lovers! Have you ever eaten garlic scapes before? What about pesto made with garlic scapes? If not, it’s time to give them both a try.
I must admit – and it’s a little embarrassing – that about ten years ago I passed by these wispy green beauties at our farm market and thought: “Wow, look at those curly green onions!” Thankfully, Laurie and Iris, the female farmers who grew them, were kind enough to explain what they were and how to eat them. Eventually I mustered up the courage to give them a try and I immediately developed a new veggie crush – the lowly (yet magnificent) garlic scape.
Flash forward ten years. Now, I anxiously await the arrival of garlic scapes every summer so I can make all kinds of delicious things with them like this Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto. This pesto tastes amazing and can be used as a dip for vegetables, spread on toasted bread, or stirred into a piping hot bowl of your favorite pasta.
There are so many things you can do with garlic scapes! If you don’t make this pesto – but I really hope you do – you can also…
- Grill the scapes.
- Saute them with olive oil (either alone or with other veggies).
- Add them to stir-fry for a pop of garlic flavor.
- Mince them and fold them into softened butter.
- Chop them and add to any recipe as you would green onion – omelets, soups, salads and more.
This garlic scape pesto is….
- Bright green and it stays that way. That’s because I flash-blanched both the scapes and the basil. It’s take a little extra time but it’s worth the extra work. If you’re feeling like blanching is too much work, you can certainly skip this step (#2 below) and go with fresh (not blanched) scapes or basil but it really does make the appearance and the texture better, and the flavor a little more well-rounded.
- Garlicky, but not in an overbearing, in-your-face raw garlic sort of way. The garlic flavor in garlic scapes is more subtle and muted – in a good way – trust me.
- So flavorful and fresh-tasting. Who doesn’t love basil, nuts, cheese and garlic?
Also, nutritionally speaking it’s…
- Loaded with prebiotics. Garlic contains chemicals that feed the good bacteria in your stomach.
- High in phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants that have proven health benefits.
- A good source of mono-unsaturated fat which is good for your heart.
- Prep the scapes. First, wash the scapes then cut off the flower/pointy end, just below the white/light colored part that looks like a bulb forming (it’s actually a flower). Discard that part or save for another use. What you have left is something that looks like a curly, tougher green onion. Squeeze the stem end and if it’s extra tough, cut off an inch or two. Cut the rest of the scape into 2-inch pieces.
- Flash means flash. In step 2 below, when you flash-blanch the basil and scapes don’t over blanch. Follow the recipe or your pesto will turn a funny shade of green (still totally edible though).
- Toast the nuts. Toasted nuts = great flavor. Don’t skip this step.
- Add a little water if necessary. If you’re using your pesto as a spread, you may want it thick. If you desire thinner pesto thin with a little warm water or if you’re cooking pasta, a little of the pasta’s cooking water.
Are you ready to hone your pesto-making skills and blow the minds and the tastebuds of your friends and family with this best-ever Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto? Then get to your local farm market ASAP and pick up some fresh garlic scapes. In Michigan, they’ll only be around another week or two – at most.
Peace, love and good eats; from our empty nest to yours.
Trending in the EN Kitchen: SarVecchio Parmesan
Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto
Yield 4 servings
- 15 garlic scapes, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 1 large handful basil
- 2/3 cup toasted almonds
- 2/3 cup grated SarVecchio Parmesan
- 3/4- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- lemon juice from ½ fresh lemon
- ¼-½ teaspoon salt
- 1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Bring a medium size pot to a steady simmer. Add the prepped scapes (see Cooking Tips, above) and simmer 1 minute. Toss in the basil and cook 30 seconds more.
- Transfer the blanched scapes and basil to a small colander and rinse with very cold water, or plunge the colander into ice water. Drain thoroughly and carefully place the blanches basil leaves and scapes on a clean dish towel. Blot to dry.
- Place the blanched scapes and basil, the grated cheese, the lemon juice, the salt and pepper, and the toasted nuts into the bowl of your food processor.
- Process until combined; until mixture looks like a chunky paste.
- With the processor running. Drizzle the extra virgin olive oil from the top, starting with 3/4 of a cup. Add the additional 1/4 cup if the pesto seems dry or you want a wetter consistency.
- Taste and season with additional salt, pepper if needed.