Tag Archives: garlic scapes

Pasta with garlic scapes & walnuts

15 Jul

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Growing 200-plus head of garlic every year (232 this season, thank you very much) I go through a lot of garlic scapes. I’m sure you’re seeing them at the farm stands and at your better grocery stores right about now.

It’s the season. And it doesn’t last long.

Most of the scapes that I don’t pass along to friends wind up being roasted as a side dish, but plenty find their way into a simple aglio e olio (literally, garlic and oil) sauce with my pasta. I like swapping the garlic cloves for the scapes because it adds a really nice texture to the aglio e olio. This version we have here also includes walnuts, which adds both texture and flavor.

It’s one of those super simple pasta dishes that you wind up craving over and over, so give it a try while the scapes are still around. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until next year.

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Get your pasta water going because this won’t take more than a few minutes. Then grab a few scapes (I’ve used four here, as I was only feeding myself on this occasion).

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Remove the tips (seen at rear) and chop the scapes and some hot pepper up, like so. You’ll also need a small handful of chopped walnuts.

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Saute in olive oil for a few minutes, or just until the scapes have softened (just don’t let them get crispy). Oh, and I’ve also added a few anchovy filets, even though I know most of you won’t. (C’mon, live a little, anchovies are awesome!)

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When your pasta is just shy of al dente turn up the heat under the scapes and add the pasta to the pan.

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Then add some of the (well-salted) pasta water and incorporate.

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After the water has all but evaporated (a minute or so) you are good to go.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, garlic scapes can last for weeks in the fridge, so don’t be shy about stocking up the next time you run across them.

I mean, can you ever have enough aglio e olio?

Grilled garlic scapes

9 Aug

I know that this isn’t going to be very much help this time of year. After all, where are you going to find garlic scapes in August?

Thing is, either I share with you this quick and easy way to prepare the things or I don’t. So what if it’ll have to wait til next summer before you try it. You’re in a hurry or something?

These aren’t the last of my garlic scapes. I harvested all 230 or so of them in late June and still haven’t used them all up. They’re stored in a refrigerator in the basement and so I often forget that they’re there. Good thing they last a while before going bad, a good couple months if not longer actually.

For those of you who aren’t familiar, the scapes are the flower bud of a garlic plant. They’re removed in early summer to help strengthen the garlic bulb. If you didn’t remove the scape a flower would grow out of its tip.

Garlic scapes are used in all kinds of ways, as they taste just like garlic. But my favorite way to use them is straight-up grilled or roasted and served as a vegetable. As the weather has been pretty warm these past few weeks I’ve been loathe to turn on the oven, so the gas grill outside has been getting a good workout.

Don’t worry about paying careful attention here, okay, because there really is nothing to this at all. Just toss the scapes in olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.

Throw them on the grill, preheated to around 350F or so, and put the cover down.

Toss the scapes around a couple times until they’re softened and a little charred, which shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes or so.

And that is all there is to it.

Now all you have to do is get out your smartphone, tap into the calendar app, and put in a reminder for early next summer to give it a go.

Unless, of course, you live nearby. In which case you can just swing by. There’s still a batch of scapes left in the basement fridge, and you’re welcome to them.

Garlic scape aglio e olio

6 Jul

When you have more than 200 head of garlic growing in the garden this is the time of year people start showing up.

“What you doing there?” asked a neighbor I had not seen since early winter. “Those garlic scapes you’re cutting?”

The woman left with a bag filled with 20 or so of my scapes. She said that she would make a pesto, which is what many people will do. I said that she ought to try this aglio e olio with a few of the scapes, but I’m pretty certain that she wasn’t paying any attention.

Her loss.

A simple aglio e olio using garlic scapes instead of cloves is a great change of pace. And this is the only time of year that we get to do it.

Get yourself around four or five scapes.

Chop them up like so. (Get your pasta going, by the way, because this won’t take very long at all.)

Saute at medium heat in plenty of olive oil with three or four anchovy filets and a little chopped hot pepper.

When your pasta is al dente add it to the pan, along with some of the well-salted pasta water, then turn up the heat to high and incorporate.

If only my neighbor had been listening.

The great scape

3 Jul

If you are the type found loitering at outdoor farmers markets this time of year, or perhaps wandering the righteous aisles of locally bent organic produce shops, then it is impossible that you have not been seeing a ton of these beauties lately.

Imfrigginpossible!

Of course, they won’t be attached to the plant, as here in the field.

Rather, they will look like so, chopped from the mother ship for the purpose of both utility and pleasure.

We’re talking garlic scapes here, an above-the-ground part of the garlic plant that rises in early summer. Scapes are removed so that the garlic bulb (or head, as we say in the meatball trade) can develop more fully.

I’m not going to name names here, but there are people, good and decent ones even, who toss their garlic scapes in the compost pile, or even into the trash. I have had a good long talk with several of these muttonheads over the years. In all cases I have been assured that such behavior would be halted going forward.

Last fall I myself planted one hell of a lot of garlic for this year’s crop. (Here’s the link with instructions, if you’re interested.) And so the garden is overrun with scapes. I’ve harvested all of them (an entire crisper drawer in the fridge is filled with scapes) and will likely have many a fine meal resulting from their use. (Here’s a pasta dish recipe where I used scapes instead of garlic cloves, for example.)

However, my favorite way to enjoy garlic scapes doesn’t require a recipe at all.

Just throw a bunch of them in a roasting dish, season with salt and pepper, and douse with a good olive oil. Toss into a 350 degree oven for around 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep moistened by the oil.

And you’ve got yourself one very respectable side dish.

Well worth loitering at your local farmers market right now while the scapes are around.

It happened at the farmers’ market

27 Jun

The one thing I knew that I had to grab at the Saturday farmers’ market was this broccoli rabe. See, I’d gotten some sweet Italian sausage from one of the vendors the week before, but hadn’t been able to use them, and so into the freezer they went.
I had a plan.
The market was just lousy with garlic scapes, and so I picked up half a dozen for a buck.
The chopped up scapes, a little hot pepper and a few anchovies get going in the extra virgin.
Then the sausage.
And the rabe.
With the orecchiette, and a sprinkling of cheese, of course.