I officially crossed the line into impulse buying at the Farmers Market last week. My downfall is always the display right at the checkout, tempting me while waiting in line. How could I resist a bunch of crazy curly garlic scapes, the delicate pea shoots or the bright, crunchy sunflower sprouts? You don’t have to buy much of any of these to get a real hit of spring — this food is so alive I almost expect it to jump right off my plate. There’s a sense of urgency with these delicacies, especially the shoots & sprouts which are best eaten asap. On Sunday we were lucky enough to receive a beautiful bag of salad greens (washed!) from Joan’s garden. The sprouts, pea shoots and some goat’s milk feta went right on top of these lovely greens with just a squeeze of lemon juice and olive oil. Spring salads don’t get much better (or easier) than that.
Garlic scapes require a little more preparation, but not too much. They can be used in many of the same ways you use garlic or chives. The flavor is mild but there’s a definite garlic punch. Farmers need to cut scapes off the garlic plants so the bulb will have more energy to form. It reminds me of Sally’s asparagus butts and the value of using the entire plant rather than throwing parts of it away. I’ve noticed more variety in scapes this year at the market. Maybe this trend is catching on. One vendor talked about bringing the large scapes from my favorite garlic — Spanish Roja. I doubt I’ll be able to resist those either.
My scapes ended up in a punchy pesto — definitely creamy and rich. It’s flavorful enough to stand alone but if you want to, add a couple basil leaves to the mix.
Garlic Scape Pesto
1 cup garlic scapes, cut into 2″ pieces
1/2 cup walnuts or pine nuts
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Place the scapes in a food processor. Pulse until they’re well ground. Add nuts and parmesan cheese. Blend until a paste forms. Slowly drizzle olive oil in a steady stream. Season with salt & pepper. Add a splash of lemon juice to brighten the taste, if you wish.
After cooking the spaghetti, I drain most of the water from the pan. Saving some water helps to make a creamy sauce when mixing the pesto in. Just leave the pasta and a little water in the warm pan and mix in several tablespoons of the pesto. The pasta will be evenly covered and best of all, there’s only one pan to wash.
Oh dear….I just looked back in our archives and realized that I made a scape pesto last year. The proportions and ingredients are slightly different but I guess it just goes to show — there are many ways to arrive at exactly the same spot.