Garlic scapes are the long, curling flower stalks that grow from hardneck garlic plants. Usually cut to allow the plant to focus its strength on the familiar bulb lurking beneath the surface of the soil, for many years growers would simply toss the tender shoots onto the compost pile. Things have changed.
A few years ago, some CSAs began to include the strange little stalks in share boxes. As the popularity of community supported agriculture grew, so did the demand for the previously unappreciated garlic scape. Once difficult to find even when in season, what was once compost fodder is pushing ramps to the side in many grocery stores.
With a taste that lies between a garlic clove and a scallion, and boasting the firm texture of a green bean, garlic scapes can be used in soups, salads, dips, or anywhere one might use typical garlic; it can also be grilled, steamed or sautéed to serve as a side vegetable in its own right.
Garlic scape pesto makes spectacular use of the subtle bite of the once neglected stalks. Spread it on bread or crackers, served with pasta or used as a sandwich topper, it’s everything we love about pesto with an unexpected twist. Pesto may be eaten fresh or frozen for future use. For single serving simplicity, fill ice cube trays with pesto, wrap in plastic and tuck them into the back of the freezer to use a cube at a time.
Garlic Scape Pesto
- 2 cups garlic scapes, chopped
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
Combine garlic scapes, basil leaves, lime juice and salt in a food processor.
With processor running, slowly add olive oil, stopping as needed to scrape sides down with a rubber spatula.
Continue to add oil until desired consistency is reached.
Add pine nuts and pulse until nuts are chopped and well combined.
Store refrigerated up to 2 weeks or freeze in an airtight container until ready to use.