Now don’t get me wrong, I love a farmers’ market as much as the next girl (or guy). But does anyone else find this whole eating locally and seasonally thing a bit stressful?

So let’s say you skip the market for a week or two or even three.  Then you show up at the market and discover this new (to you) fruit, vegetable, whatever. You buy some at the farmer’s urging and take it home and fall in love.  The following week that you go back to the market and said produce is nowhere in sight.  And it won’t be … for at least a year.  The season has ended and now you’re SOL.

This always happens to me!  Or I won’t realize that the season has started for something that I enjoy and then it’s too late.  This year already I have been burned by fiddleheads coming and going and I was later to rhubarb season than I had hoped to be.  I was totally on top of this year’s somewhat disappointing strawberry season though.  I’m now committed to going to the market weekly to ensure that I don’t miss a week of corn, peaches, plums, tomatoes and other goodies.  This is what it’s come to!  I need my seasonal produce.

My discovery this week was garlic scapes.  I always read about garlic scapes but had never thought to buy them.  One stall at the market was selling them for 10 for $1 and that was enticing enough for me to give it a try.  Garlic scapes are the stalks of hardneck garlic.  Farmers cut them off as the garlic grows to keep the plant’s energy focused on making more awesome garlic.

I knew right away that I would make a pesto.  I had planned on making basil pesto the week before but got sidetracked and never got around to it.  I found a ton of recipes for garlic scape-only pesto but I wanted to use up some of the basil from my balcony garden so I did some more digging.  Apparently it’s quite normal to do the garlic scape/pesto variety.

The combination is definitely a winner.  The garlic scapes add a nice garlic flavour with a hint of grassiness.  The basil ties in the traditional pesto flavours without being too herby.  I used almonds instead of pine nuts and was totally happy with the way that worked out.  My only issue was getting the consistency down right.  The pesto was on the thick side no matter how much oil I added.  At a certain point I stopped adding oil because it seemed excessive.  This is definitely a hit!  I’ve been eating it with pasta and chicken for a great summer salad.  I also plan on using the pesto as a spread in a breakfast sandwich with eggs, cheese and bacon.

For the recipe visit Serious Eats.

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9 Responses to Garlic Scape and Basil Pesto

  1. Adora's Box says:

    I never heard of garlic scape or at least never heard of people call it that. I can imagine how nice it tastes. That would be nice with simple fried noodles.

  2. Pesto is one of my favourite things to make with garlic scapes. Love that garlicky bite they add!
    I also like to chop up the scapes and add them to omelettes and quiches… the texture is kind of like sauteed green beans, but the flavour is pure garlic. Too bad scape season is pretty much over… it’s a two-week blink-and-you’ll-miss-it deal.

    • whatsonmyplate says:

      I’m totally onboard for the quiche idea. I have some scapes left and I may just be making quiche this week.

  3. Kelly says:

    Yummy this looks fantastic!! :)

  4. kita says:

    Ive just recently learned of garlic scapes and have yet to find one to try – but Im addicted to pesto this summer and even though the season is over – If I find one – Im trying this!

  5. Evan says:

    Add a some of the water left over from making pasta into the pesto. It helps to thin it out a bit but doesn’t leave it totally body-less as it adds a bit of starch.

  6. Jeferson says:

    Not a dumb question at all!!! A gailrc scape is a shoot that gailrc bulbs send up as they are growing. They have a milder flavor than a gailrc bulb, but they are still really delicious. We harvest them once they are big and curly, (they curl once they are ready to harvest) And harvest them so that all the energy goes into making the gailrc bulb grow. If you have a farmers market near by, check it out. That’s the only place you will find them.

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