When I first moved to New York five years ago, one of the new habits I acquired was weekly trips to the farmer’s market. This was how I fell in love with fresh raw corn; heirloom apples like Ambrosia (so special); and new leafy greens like sorrel and amaranth. It’s also how I found garlic scapes: these cute, curly green shoots are the “flower stalks” of the garlic plant. They’re cut away so that the energy goes into the garlic bulb. The scapes taste a bit milder than garlic bulb, and have the crunchy texture similar to green beans or asparagus. I love experimenting with different ways to use garlic scapes during summer because they’re quite versatile and take heat better than garlic cloves.
1. In a Mediterranean-inspired breakfast scramble–Chop up garlic scapes into 2″ pieces. In a saute pan, heat some olive oil. Add garlic scapes and saute for about 3-4 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, turmeric, dried thyme and oregano, a pinch of rosemary, and saute until mushrooms are softened. Add cubed firm tofu and cook, turning only occasionally, until the sides are browned. Then mash the tofu with a spatula. Add kalamata olives and/or capers.
2. In tacos–cooked garlic scapes are reminiscent of cooked cactus, so this is an interesting substitution. Saute garlic scapes and portobello mushrooms until softened. De-glaze the pan with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Take off the heat and serve with avocado, corn tortillas and hot sauce.
3. In pesto–in a blender or food processor, blend a bunch of basil, garlic scapes, walnuts or pine nuts, and olive oil for a fresh take on a classic.
4. Roasted vegetables–who doesn’t love roasted vegetable medley? Next time, put some garlic scapes along with asparagus, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, radishes, or whatever else you like to roast.
5. In a dip–de-frost edamame. Blend with some garlic scapes, a bit of dill, and lemon juice for a fresh, green bean dip.
6. In salads–use a vegetable peeler to make thin ribbons out of garlic scapes, and mix with your favorite raw vegetables like corn, beets, carrots, spinach, and tomatoes.
7. In a risotto–Heat olive oil in a pot. Add garlic scapes and saute for about 5 minutes until softened. Add Arborio rice and toast for another minute. Add about 1/2 cup white wine and allow to de-glaze the pan and absorb into the rice. Start ladling warmed vegetable broth, 1 cup at a time, for about 30 minutes, while constantly stirring. Finish with a drizzle of truffle oil and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
Have you tried garlic scapes? What’s your favorite way to cook them?
Also see: How to Use Fresh Turmeric Root
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling