For one small window in the spring, garlic plants do a glorious thing. They try to reproduce and in doing so, they create a scape. It’s the plant trying to go to flower and then produce seeds. We don’t want the garlic plant to do this because we want all of its energy to go into producing a big bulb for us to season our food with for the rest of the year. So, we get to snap off these curly scapes and eat them.
Simple ways to cook:
– When raw, scapes are quite garlicky. They make a great pesto and are also delicious in hummus or bean dips (recipe above)
– When cooked, they have a mild garlic flavor and a texture not too unlike asparagus. Just cook til tender, not soft.
– Eat the whole thing just as a beautiful scape! It’s not often that nature gives us such a goofy and wonderfully shaped object to eat (or perhaps it does—I feel that way about a lot of vegetables!). But, if you haven’t tried eating a scape whole, you should. They’re delicious grilled or sauteed. Toss with olive oil and throw on the grill. If sauteing, heat oil over medium high heat, throw in scapes and cover. Cook til tender and dress with a little lemon zest and flaky salt. Eat with your fingers and enjoy!
– Chop up and saute and use in place of garlic in pasta, grains, salads, etc
– Blanch in boiling water for a minute and add to a fritatta or casserole
Garlic Scape Carbonara
- ½ lb campanella pasta, or shape of your choosing
- 4 slices bacon (about 3¼ ounces), chopped
- ¼ cup garlic scapes, cut into ¼ inch coins
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
- Set a pot of water to boiling on the stove and cook the campanella pasta (or desired shape).
- While it’s cooking, cook the bacon over medium heat until browned. Remove the bacon pieces with a slotted spoon and add the garlic scapes. Cook until soft (2-3 minutes). Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. (Drain both the bacon and the garlic scapes on a paper towel).
- Whisk together the eggs, salt and red pepper flakes.
- When the pasta is done, quickly remove it from the stove and set a different burner to low heat. Drain the pasta and add it back to the pot, on the burner set to low. Stir in the garlic scapes and bacon. Add the egg mixture and stir feverishly for 3-4 minutes until sauce is thick and creamy. Don’t let it overcook or it will be gloppy. Sprinkle the Romano cheese in, a little at a time, and stir to combine. Don’t add it all at once or it won’t mix throughout the pasta as well (since it will clump).
- Serve immediately.