Photo credit: Betsy Jackson
Scapes are the curly shoots that grow out of hard-neck varieties of garlic every spring, about a month before harvesting the garlic bulbs underneath. When young and tender, they are sweet and have a milder garlic flavor--you can add chopped, seared scapes to almost any dish, puree them into garlic scape pesto or saute or grill them whole just like you would asparagus.
COOKING TIPS: When raw, scapes are quite garlicky. They make a great pesto and are also delicious in hummus or bean dips. When cooked, they have a mild garlic flavor and a texture not too unlike asparagus. Just cook until tender, not soft. Eat the whole thing just as a beautiful scape! It's wonderful that nature gives us such a goofy and wonderfully shaped object to eat. But, if you haven't tried eating a scape whole, you should. They're delicious grilled or sauteed. Toss with olive oil and throw on the grill. If sauteing, heat oil over medium high heat, throw in scapes and cover. Cook til tender and dress with a little lemon zest and flaky salt. Eat with your fingers and enjoy! Chop up and saute and use in place of garlic in pasta, grains, salads, etc. Blanch in boiling water for a minute and add to a frittata or casserole.
RECIPE: Garlic Scape Pesto from Vanilla and Bean