Friday, June 24, 2011

Garlic Scape Pesto

At 6:30 am this Wednesday, my first CSA delivery arrived.  While I romanticize the things that I love, the box graphic made my heart skip a beat. 

I quickly dug into the kale, lettuce, earthy golden beets, radishes and garlic scapes trimming and bagging into separate weekend and mid-week portions.  We spend most summer weekends on the East End of Long Island, here, so my cooking happens in two kitchens.   

After much internal debate about what the first “post” should detail, I decided to keep it simple by sharing an early summer favorite, Garlic Scape Pesto.  This zesty pesto packs a major flavor punch.

The uses are many.  Toast bread and smear on the pesto for a light bite.... Use as the base to a turkey or roast beef sandwich... Boil your favorite pasta, reserving one cup of starchy cooking water.  Toss the cooked pasta with ½ - 1 cup of pesto and as much reserved cooking water as you’d like for a saucey consistency.  Season with salt, pepper and a few extra grates of cheese...  Enjoy a homemade bruschetta topping crunchy toast points with a tablespoon of pesto and chopped sautéed shrimp. 

Many Garlic Scape recipes call for walnuts, however I prefer to use the sweeter pine nut to counterbalance the pungent quality of the scapes.

Garlic Scape Pesto 
  • 1 cup diced garlic scapes, soft tops removed. 6 - 8 scapes depending on length.
  • 1/3rd cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Optional:  Swop ¼ - ½ cup garlic scape for freshly chopped basil for a milder pesto

  • In a dry frying pan, over low-medium heat, lightly toast pine nuts until just browned (2-4 minutes).
  • Blend garlic scapes, pine nuts, cheese and lemon juice until finely chopped. If using basil, add now.
  • If using a Cuisnart/food processor, slowly stream in olive oil.  Process until smooth.
  • If using a mixer without a feed tube, pour 1/4th the olive oil in and blend until mixed.  Repeat three times with remaining oil and blend until smooth.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.  For me, this was three pinches of salt and three good grinds from the pepper mill.

The pesto will keep for 7-10 days in the fridge, and about 3 months in the freezer (though I am known to keep AND enjoy freezer items for eons!).

About Garlic Scapes
The top stem or "scape" of the garlic plant is trimmed “to focus all the garlic's energy into bulb growth.”  Harvested worldwide, China is the largest garlic producer, with 23 billion pounds annually. 

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