Once garlic scapes appear at the local markets, you know spring has arrived! A garlic scape is the tall green stalk that grows from young garlic. Gardeners and farmers must remove the scape stalks in the spring to ensure the energy of the plant is being filtered toward growing the bulb in the ground. This is why, for a brief period of time in the spring and sometimes in the late summer, scapes can be found for sale everywhere.
Garlic scapes can be eaten raw or cooked and prepared much like asparagus or green beans – blanched, boiled, steamed, or oven roasted. Season them with butter and sea salt or sesame oil and a dash of soya sauce, and they are ready to serve. Raw or blanched scapes also make a nice addition to salads. Here is a recipe for scape pesto, another great way to use these delicious spring greens.
This pesto can be added to fish, such as sablefish, halibut, or salmon, before cooking it in the oven. As scapes have a subtle garlic and onion flavour, they also pair well with shrimp, spot prawns, mussels, or my personal favourite, longfin squid.
Garlic Scape Pesto
Eight 10-inch-long garlic scapes
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup shelled walnuts
Zest and juice of 1/2 a large lemon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
To make the pesto, chop the scapes in a food processor. Add the Parmesan, walnuts, lemon zest and lemon juice; process into a rough paste. With the blade running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Process until the oil is thoroughly incorporated and the pesto is fairly smooth, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt.
— adapted from “Grow Cook Eat” by Willi Galloway
For sustainable seafood options please refer to the SeaChoice guide.