I know it is easy to get into a rut when it comes to cooking, but after visiting the weekend farmer’s market at Trout Lake last Saturday I found lots of inspiration and reminders of all the interesting local and seasonal food out there.
I thought it would be cool to blog about food or ingredients that I don’t use on a regular basis, or introduce you to something that maybe you have never tried before, or always wanted to try but just didn’t know what to actually do with it.
Garlic scapes are the “flower stalks” of hardneck garlic plants, which start to appear about a month or so after the first leaves. They curl around and look like little pig tails.
They are usually cut off of the plant, since leaving them on diverts the plants strength away from forming a plump bulb, and thrown away or composted. But why throw them out when you can sell them at the farmer’s market and make a bit more money from your produce?
When harvested early when they are young and tender and delicious. I would describe the taste as a mix of the texture of asparagus with the light taste of garlic and onion.
The market stall where I bought them even had some cooking ideas, which included:
- Saute in olive oil until tender crisp – season with salt and pepper and lemon juice.
- Chop finely and mix with bread crumbs, cheese and parsley as a stuffing for tomatoes and mushrooms.
- Saute in olive oil with sun-dried tomatoes and olives and mix with your favorite pasta.
- Chop finely and saute in butter. Add to mashed potatoes with some sour cream or yogurt. (have to try this one!)
- Bundle in foil, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill for 10 min or until soft and golden.
- Or even create a Spinach and Garlic Scape pesto with it:
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup chopped garlic scapes
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tbsp butter
In a kitchen aide, pulse spinach, scapes and cheese until chunky. With machine running, add olive oil slowly and process until smooth. Add butter and salt and pepper. Toss with pasta and adjust seasonings.
For myself, I chopped up the garlic scapes and sauteed them in a wok before adding some chicken, veggies and noodles for a great stir fry.
They are in season right now, hence why all the farmer’s markets have them. So don’t wait – head out this weekend and pick some up so you can start cooking with them. You can even freeze them and use them later through the summer/fall which is always a bonus.
Have you ever tried garlic scapes? If so what is your favorite way to eat them? If not, get out there and give them a try.