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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Garlic What?

I'm a pretty devout foodie. There are not many flavors or ingredients that I'm not familiar with. Not that I've tasted everything, mind you, but I read a lot and try to keep myself on top of food trends and different World cuisines.

When I opened my first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) box that contained garlic scapes. I was clueless. Not only had I never heard of them, but I wasn't quite sure what they were at first glance. I had to read my box note just to see what they were.

Now, I'm wondering how I let these seasonal treats escape me. I'm a garlic fiend. I love all things garlic and to not know about scapes, the tender green shoots that appear before the bulbs do, well, that's just unforgivable.

Now the Internet is a great thing. It makes finding out about anything as simple as point and click. Over and over and over again, I stumbled upon garlic scape pesto recipes. So, I knew I just had to try this. But, could I achieve pesto nirvana without adding all the nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese that traditional pestos require?

In a word, yes. Here you go. If you find garlic scapes at your grocer or local farmer's market. Snatch them up. Grab them all, then gleefully race home ignoring all the people wondering what the heck you're doing with curling, green onion looking thingies. Make this quick recipe and freeze it in ice cube trays. I've been doing that with my homemade basil pesto for years. Then when you're crunched for time, boil up some of your favorite pasta and toss with pesto. Two tablespoons flavors 1/2 pound pasta. Instant dinner.

The Great Scape Pesto

You can use this to top pasta, top toasted ciabatta bread, on grilled sandwiches, or stir into some plain hummus or blended white cannellini beans for a fantastic dip. Bring it to a potluck and be prepared to lecture on the beauty of the scape.

1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes), top flowery part removed, cut into ¼-inch slices

1/3 cup walnuts, or pine nuts, or almonds

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil--I bet you could cut this down even more, but don't sub, only extra virgin

enough fat free chicken broth to make it a good consistency--forgive me for the vagueness, I'm not good at following recipes

¼-1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese--not the unforgivable stuff in the shaker can

½ teaspoon salt

black pepper to taste

Place scapes and nuts in the bowl of a food processor and whiz until well combined and somewhat smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil and process until integrated. Scrape sides of bowl and add a small amount of chicken broth. The consistency should be pesto-like (duh!) or like natural peanut butter if you've never had pesto before. Scoop pesto out of processor and into a mixing bowl. Add Parmesan to taste; add salt and pepper. Keeps for up to one week in an air-tight container in the refrigerator. Or freeze in ice cube trays, pop out and store in a freezer bag. Take out whenever you need a quick fix.

(Now, if you're not a recipe person like me, this is how I'd do it. Buy as many scapes as you can. Clean as described above. Chop and place as many as you can in the food processor. Pulse a few times and add the nuts, a tablespoon at a time. Shocker: I always measure oil and nuts and other high calorie foods. I never used to, but I do now. Amazingly, a little goes a long way and in order to live healthily, I've decided I have to make this concession. Oh, yeah, back to the freestyle method. Pulse the nuts until chopped, add oil (measure to use the least amount possible), add chicken broth until texture is right. Remove from food processor and stir in Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Knowing me, I'd probably have to do this several times because if I could find these beauties again, I'd make as much as I could.)

1 comment:

  1. Oh I am so glad I found this... I have seen these at my local farmer's market and tempted to buy them...I was not sure what to do with them. I am definitely going to be making this pesto!


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