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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic scapes:

A: are the curly tops of garlic plants.
B: look like something from outer space.
C: are something that CSA members aren't sure how to use.
D: are very tasty.
E: all of the above.

The answer is, of course, E. 

The curvy tops of garlic plants, garlic scapes have a strong garlic flavor, but not as strong as a garlic clove.  They can be used in all sorts of applications--use them where you would normally use garlic or, as a change of pace, in place of scallions.

I've drizzled them with olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled them.  They soften--both in texture and in flavor--and are a nice addition to a grilled vegetable platter, a salad or even something like mashed potatoes (chopped finely).

Tonight, I made a simple and quick garlic scape pesto to serve on top of some grilled steak.  It would be good on any kind of grilled food--pork, chicken or fish (a stronger flavored fish that wouldn't get overpowered by the pesto's flavor).  It's a bit strong to eat by itself, but the steak balances out the flavor. 

Just cut up your garlic scapes (about a pound) in pieces about 3 inches long and process them in a food processor until they're pureed smooth.  Add 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I actually just threw broken up chunks in the food processor instead of grating) and 1/2 cup pine nuts.  Process until smooth.  Then slowly add 1/2-1 cup of extra-virgin olive oil as the food processor runs until it reaches the consistency that you like.  Add salt and pepper to taste and that's it!

This recipe makes quite a bit of pesto (you don't need a lot for a lot of flavor).  Store it in an air-tight container in the fridge.  Or you can freeze it in ice cube trays to use later.  (Just be sure to use it within 3-4 months so the cheese and pine nuts don't go rancid.)  Simply pop out a cube or two, thaw it in the microwave or in the fridge and you've got a flavorful topping to add some zip to your favorite grilled food when you need it.

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