Wednesday, July 3, 2013
The great scape
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.
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.