Exuberantly curlicued garlic scapes debuted just a couple of days ago at our first Saturday farmers’ market of the season. These first picked and thinner scapes are both more tender and milder than the mature scapes still to come. Buy scapes when you find them as their availability lasts for only a short few weeks of early summer. Add them to stir fries and salads. Or, best of all, turn them into Garlic Scape Pesto—summer’s first pesto.
The great scape
Fall planted hardnecked garlic sends up a flower-bearing shoot called a scape in mid to late June. Harvesting garlic scapes before they form a flower encourages the formation of a large and plump bulb of garlic underground.
For years, scapes remained under appreciated. They were usually tossed into the compost pile. Now days garlic scapes are becoming increasingly popular. Though they still may be difficult to find outside of farmers’ markets.
Garlic Scape Pesto to live for
Once home with my one-pound bag of scapes from my favorite farmer, I began searching for recipes. It quickly became obvious that those who know and love garlic scapes can barely stand the wait from year to year to make and enjoy Garlic Scape Pesto.
Following their lead, I used my own favorite Pesto Genovese recipe as my inspiration. Garlic scapes replaced both the basil and the garlic. In minutes I had a fresh tasting, mildly garlicky, gloriously green early summer pesto. So delicious, I immediately made a double batch using the rest of my remaining scapes.
Warning: Be prepared to love this pesto. Once you taste it,
you’ll wish you had bought enough garlic scapes to make another batch
or two or three of Garlic Scape Pesto.
10 ways to enjoy Garlic Scape Pesto
- Added to hummus
- Tossed with pasta
- Stirred into soup
- Swirled into scrambled eggs
- Topping for pizza
- Spread on bruschetta
- Sautéed with mushrooms
- Thinly sliced and tossed in salads
- Stir fried with most everything
- Eaten with a spoon
Garlic Scape Pesto Hummus
My favorite use for Garlic Scape Pesto is added to my go-to hummus recipe. Wow. Spread on a leaf of just picked garden lettuce with a wedge of avocado and a thin slice of tomato—this is the wrap to live for.
I’m still playing with how much pesto per batch of hummus and whether to blend or swirl it into the hummus. I’ll let you know in next week’s post 😉
Refrigerated, Garlic Scape Pesto remains delicious and bright green for at least a week.
As this is the first time I’ve prepared Garlic Scape Pesto, my personal experience with freezing it is nil. Though my favorite farmer freezes hers for a year.
Makes just over 1 cup
Start to Finish: 15 minutes
4 ½ ounces garlic scapes (10-11 scapes)
1 cup packed parsley leaves (a combination of Italian flat leaf and curly leaf parsley)
¾ teaspoon salt
8 twists freshly ground pepper
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup grated pecorino cheese
- Remove and discard the pod and the tip above it from each scape.
- Cut the rest of the scapes into approximately 1-inch pieces to equal a slightly rounded cupful.
- Pulse the scapes in a food processor till you have smaller pieces no larger than a quarter-inch.
- Add the parsley, salt, pepper and olive oil. Process till coarsely chopped. Add the walnuts. When the walnuts are chopped, add the cheese. Mix until combined.