Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garlic Scape Pesto Spread

Garlic scapes come around for this brief window in June before garlic is harvested.   When they're here, they seem to be everywhere, and then they vanish, not to be seen for another year.  I showed up an hour too late to the farm market two weeks ago to find one scape for sale.  Like one scallion.  One radish.  One sad scape.  Because when they're here, they're in demand.

Scapes are milder than straight up garlic but stick pack a serious punch when you bite into them raw.  They're easy to saute the same way you'd do up green beans or asparagus, and cooking them tones down their flavor dramatically.  

Raw, they're a great addition to salads, and in the past couple of weeks I've chopped them into every salad I've eaten.  I've actually used them in just about everything I've cooked lately. I was lucky enough to get enough scapes in my farmshare this week to use them in everything and even give some away.

But since they are in our lives and meals for just a few short weeks, it makes sense to try to extend their stay, if just for a little while.  My answer to that is scape pesto. 

Scape pesto goes on sandwiches, serves as the only topping on seasonal garlic bread, blends up nicely with oil and vinegar for scape vinaigrette, and acts as a very flavorful pasta sauce.   It's a dip, a spread, a sauce, and it freezes.

I actually have a small bit of last year's scape pesto left in the freezer.  That's not ideal - it loses it's flavor over time, but it holds up for a few months very well.  

What I made last night is a fairly thick pesto, better as a spread.  Add more oil to make it a sauce.

I started with a bundle of scapes - I think it was about 7 -but the length of your scapes will vary - and I cut them into small pieces.

This ended up being about a cup and a half of scapes. 

Sous Chef Brian was busy shredding up some parmesan, so I put the scapes and a handful of walnuts into my mini chopper.  I ended up needing to do this in two batches, which worked fine.  You could use a blender as well.

I whirred the scapes and walnuts together for a bit until they were chopped up fairly small.

And then drizzled in a bit of olive oil until it was fairly smooth.  Then we added shredded parmesan and a bit of salt and pepper and gave it a final whirr. 

Once everything was smooth and combined, we were all set.  About two and a half cups of scape pesto, plenty for dressings, sauces and spreads. 

This will keep covered in the fridge for most of a week, but go ahead and freeze some so you have something scapy available once the fleeting scape season has passed.

Put a bowl cover on it and try not to eat it directly from the bowl.

Sous Chef Brian immediately spread a bit on some Italian bread.  Pungent and delicious. 

This recipe is cross-posted at the blog for the South Philly Food Co-op, whose mission is to open a member-owned cooperative grocery store that provides affordable and nutritious food to all residents of South Philadelphia while empowering the local community through sustainable practices, food-centric education, outreach, and community building.

And don't forget, we're having a contest/giveaway thing starting with my 100th post.  This is #99, so keep an eye out!

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Garlic Scape Pesto Spread
Very flavorful spread to take full advantage of the brief scape season. Easily turns into a salad dressing or pasta sauce, or use as is as a spread on sandwiches or toast.
  • 1.5 cups chopped garlic scapes
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • dash kosher salt
  • dash black pepper
Whirr scapes and walnuts in food processor until finely chopped. Slowly stream in olive oil, pulsing as you go, until texture is smooth. Add cheese, salt and pepper and whirr to combine.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2.5 cups

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