Signs of Summer... Garlic Scapes!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

John and I hit the Blacksburg Farmers' Market yesterday, as we are wont to do on a gorgeous Saturday morning. As summer is progressing, the selection just keeps getting better and better. We decided to pick up some of our standard appetizer fare, since one of John's college buddies + fiancee were coming into town.

Our selection included a fantastic pesto bread, our favorite olive tapanade, chevre-style cheese spread and some cherries.

Along the way I saw some of these:

I'd never seen them before and had no idea what they were or what to do with them, but they looked GORGEOUS, so of course I asked about them. They are garlic scapes (a.k.a. garlic whistles), the flowering stalk from garlic. You're supposed to cut them off as they start to curl, so that your garlic plants can put more energy into producing the bulb and not spend it on flowering. My interest was piqued, so I picked up a small bunch for $1.50. As I was walking through the market several of the vendors commented and were so excited about my find that I promptly went back and got 2 more bunches! At $1.50 a bunch, how could I go wrong? Various people suggested making pesto, sauteing them just on their own like green beans, and serving them fresh chopped over salad. So many ideas... What to do, what to do? Since it's important to preserve them at the peak of perfection, I decided to go the pesto route with most of them, so that I could freeze some for future use. I started out with a recipe from Eggs On Sunday and made some adjustments from there. Note - this is a double recipe, I wound up with about 1 and 2/3 pint jars full.

Garlic Scape Pesto

2 cups chopped garlic scapes
2/3 cup walnuts
juice of 1 lemon*
1 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, grated**
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil***
coarse salt and pepper, to taste
--Added (not in the original recipe), about 1/4 cup of Pecorino-Romano cheese

* Strictly speaking, to double the original recipe I should have used 2 lemons, but I didn't. This was also where the last of the left over gorgeous Meyer Lemons went, which I basically just used because that's what I had on hand.
** I fresh grated the cheese, which winds up a bit fluffier than the store packaged pre-grated (and tastier, IMHO), hence the addition of the Pecorino-Romano.
*** I wound up adding what seemed like a good bit more olive oil. The recipe was very thick... I like my pesto a bit more fluid. Note that the pictures below were taken *before* I added the extra oil, which I stirred in after I realized how thick the stuff was as I was scraping it out of the food processor!!

Blend everything but the olive oil, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender. Slowly drizzle in the oil with the motor running, and blend until emulsified and smooth. Taste and add coarse salt and pepper as needed.

Good stuff!

It's delicious.


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