While I have grown garlic for a number of years I did not realize until a couple of years ago that you can actually use the scapes, the undeveloped flower buds that should be cut off as soon as they appear of in order to strengthen the garlic bulbs. Then, last year, I unintentionally grew flowerless garlic.
So this year was the first time I could put my hands on scapes. I wanted to get the full scape flavor so I used them raw, in scape pesto and scape butter. Since this was a premiere, I made only small batches of each but the amounts can easily be doubled or tripled if you are lucky enough to have lots of scapes at your disposal – garlic scapes seem to be a hot commodity at farmer’s markets.
I removed the thin pointy tips of the scapes (these are the dark green blades that look like chives in the top photo), as they tend to be fibrous. The lemon juice adds a little acid to the pesto is so it keeps its color.
Garlic Scape Pesto
¼ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
¾ cup scapes
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of ½ lemon
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Lightly toast the walnuts in a non-greased pan. Set aside to cool.
2. Cut the scapes into ½-inch pieces. Put the scapes, cooled walnuts, Parmesan, olive oil, and lemon juice in the food processor. Using the pulse function, chop finely, scraping down the sides with a spatula every so often.
3. Season with salt and pepper and pulse again. The pesto should still be somewhat chunky. Fill in a jar and refrigerate.
Garlic Scape Butter
6 tablespoons soft butter
2 tablespoons chopped scapes
¼ cup packed Italian parsley
Put all ingredients in the food processor and process to a creamy consistency. Fill in an airtight container and refrigerate.