Monday, June 22, 2015

Culinary Corner: The Great Scape

[ed note: Our third installment of the Culinary Corner by Elizabeth Hinds focuses on a goody that is coming to our CSA members over the next few weeks in their shares.  Scapes are the 'flower stem' of the garlic plant and can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic in most recipes if chopped fine.  Often scapes may need to cook just a little longer than cloves - it depends on how much crunch you want. ]

In 2012 I joined my first CSA in Iowa City. Early in the summer season, I received a curious green shoot called a garlic scape. I came to learn that scapes are the curly tops of hard neck garlic that produces a flower. These shoots are cut just before the flower blooms which redirects energy to bulb growth. The scapes are packed with fresh garlic flavor, and slightly less punch. I like to chop it up and use it in place of garlic in most of my recipes, but here are a few of my scape-specific favorites.

The curly stems on these garlic plants are called 'scapes'
Garlic Scape Infused Oil 
This infused oil can be used for cooking or drizzled over salads for a mild garlic flavor.
  • 2 cups mild oil, such as canola 
  • 3-4 scapes 
Cut the scapes in half to fit in a pint-sized jar, then in half lengthwise to expose the inside of the scapes. Pat dry with a towel and place the scapes in a pint-sized jar, then cover with the oil. Let steep for a week before using. Store in a cool, dark place.

Garlic Scape Stir-Fry
This is a base recipe for a stir-fry I make often in the summer. I typically use whatever vegetables are in my fridge at the time, so the recipe can adapt to the seasons. If you would like to make this without meat, mushrooms are a wonderful, savory substitute.
  •  ½ cup garlic scapes, roughly chopped 
  • 1 med onion, halved and cut into thin slices 
  • 1 lb cubed beef 
  • ⅔ cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • ⅔ cup broccoli (fresh or frozen) 
  • ¼ cup soy sauce 
  • ¼ cup hoisin (also called Peking sauce) 
  • 1 tbsp raw sugar 
  • 2 tbsp oil 
Heat the oil in a large wok and cook the onions over med-high heat until translucent, but still somewhat firm, about 5 minutes. Remove the onions, leaving as much oil in the wok as possible. Increase the temperature to high, add the meat and a bit of salt and cook until just browned, about 2 minutes on each side. Remove the meat, leaving the juice, and add back the onions and other vegetables to cook for about 5 mins (if using frozen veg, add a few minutes for thaw time). Add back the meat and toss in the soy sauce, hoisin sauce and sugar. Cook for 1 min, then serve over rice. Serves 3-4.

Recipe - Garlic Scape and Arugula Pesto
As promised - here is the recipe for the sample provided during one of our CSA distributions this season.

  • 1 bunch of garlic scapes (~10)
  • 1 packed cup arugula
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • ¼ cup olive oil (plus more as needed)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
Chop the scapes into approximately 1 in. pieces. Place in a food processor along with the arugula. Pulse until well chopped, then remove the lid, scrape down with a rubber spatula and add the oil, lemon juice and salt. Pulse to combine, scrape down once more, then process for about 30 seconds until everything has been chopped very fine. The pesto should look shiny and moist, but not too oily. Add a bit more olive oil if needed, and store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.

1 comment:

  1. I made the pesto with kale instead of arugula, and it's excellent! I only used 1/4 Cu. olive oil--with the canola oil it would have been too oily.


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