If you’re an avid farmers’ market shopper, then you might be wondering what those long, strands of green shoots are popping up recently. They are something you do not want to pass up. Garlic scapes are the shoots from, drum roll please…garlic plants. You can chop them up and sauté them as you would regular cloves, but another addictively delicious use is pesto. Instead of waiting for your basil plants to come full-bloom, get some scapes and you’ll be in for a real treat.
My first go with this recipe, adapted from the very talented Dorie Greenspan, was eating it straight-up smeared on toasted baguette. What started as an addiction, turned into a tummy ache, leaving me cautious about over doing it the next time around. Then I realized as delicious this was on it’s own, it would be a lovely compliment to fried eggs and even a sweet jam-braised chicken dish I made recently. With the official start of grilling season being this weekend, I can’t wait to try it on some charred steaks too.
Garlic Scape Pesto
adapted from Dorie Greenspan
makes about one cup
10 garlic scapes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
2 tablespoons softened butter
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Add the scapes, cheese and pistachios to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the scapes and nuts are very finely chopped. Add the butter, then slowly add the olive oil, while pulsing, until it forms a wet paste. Season with pepper. Add more oil if you desire a "wetter" pesto.