Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Garlic Scape Season Has Arrived!

It's garlic scape season! I've been waiting all year for this precious 2-3 week period, and it's finally arrived!

And what, exactly, is a garlic scape? According to

"The garlic scape serves as the stem from which the seed head of the garlic bulb is formed. As the bulb begins to grow and mature, garlic stalks also begin to lengthen. During the growth period, the garlic scape begins to curve. Contained within the garlic scape is a great deal of flavor, although the stalk never does reach the level of the pungent garlic bulb itself."

My friend and fellow Michigan Lady Food Blogger, the charming and radiant Diana Dyer, and her sweetheart of a husband are garlic farmers; and they're my sole trusted source of the precious scapes at the various farmers' markets in the area, with many varieties to offer and a wealth of information to generously share.

Here are just three of the many options available, each with its own distinctive bite or lack thereof:

The Dyers tend to their garlic farm with wholehearted devotion: Diana told me that if they were to count each time the garlic is cared for in one way or another, it would probably total 20-25 separate events, from planting to harvesting.

And so, the garlic which will be available later this summer is amazingly wonderful, with each bulb offering its own strengths and colors and virtues.

But to me, the scapes are the most prized -- not only for their flavor and versatility, but also because one must respect and accommodate their moment of glory. Scapes represent seasonal eating, as they are only available for a short while. Then they become a happy memory and something to long for and anticipate through the rest of the year, with late Spring bringing their joyous return.

Diana asked me how I prefer to prepare the scapes because, of course, she would recommend different varieties depending upon my plans.

As much as I adore her justly famous scape pesto recipe, my favorite thing to do is saute them in butter ... a simple, flavorful preparation that showcases the scapes' flavor with little intrusion from other ingredients.

This time I added some white wine (I used Flip Flop Wines Riesling, a most generous marketing gift!) and a touch of cream, to infuse the sauce with more depth and richness.

Then I tossed some pasta and peas into the sauce, for a luxuriously sophisticated yet ridiculously easy dinner. And it was just perfection, after waiting an entire year for the opportunity to eat this luscious meal again ....

Pasta and Peas with Garlic Scapes

6 ounces whole wheat pasta shells
1 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
generous sprinkling of red pepper flakes
pinch of kosher salt
4 garlic scapes, minced
1/3 cup white wine
2 tablespoons cream
parmesan, for serving

Prepare the pasta according to package directions, adding the peas for the last minute of cooking.

Meanwhile, melt the butter and oil together over medium-low heat. Add the red pepper flakes, salt and garlic scapes; saute for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and bring to a boil; cook until reduced by half. Stir in the cream.

When the pasta is ready, pour the sauce over it and stir to combine. Place onto a serving platter and top with parmesan.

Serves 2-4.


Candace said...

Oh, Mary! This looks fantastic. I really hope that someone has them at the Farmer's Market on Friday. I want to try this recipe. Thanks so much for the information! Have a beautiful Wednesday!

Cranberry Morning said...

What an interesting post, Mary! I'd never even heard of garlic scapes before. Even spellcheck is surprised! The recipe seems simple, clean, and flavorful. Every year I mean to plant garlic, but it needs to be planted in October, so foreign to my garden-planting scheme.

Karen Harris said...

Why did I pass up those garlic scapes at Whole Foods last week? Your recipe looks really good. I love it that you have a source for them.

Unknown said...

Oh, now that pasta looks fantastic! I love garlic scape though I find it's not the easiest thing to find around here. I've only been able to find them at farmer's markets. Must keep my eye out for some now!

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Thats it. I have GOT to go to the farmers market today & see if I can find some scapes. Never had them, yet have heard nothing but great things about them!! This dish sounds and looks delightful, the perfect way to showcase such a delicate and delicious treat!

Beth Zimmerman said...

I think you mentioned them last year too. Either that or they've made an appearance on FOOD Network! :)

Cat and DOG Chat With Caren said...

I just love garlic and had never heard of garlic scapes. This was such an interesting post!

Natasha in Oz said...

This is quite amazing. I'd not heard of garlic scapes before and now I see this and someone tweeted about it today too. Thanks so much for telling me about them. I will definitely look out for them when summer arrives here in Oz.

Thanks so much for dropping by today and taking the time to vote for my flower picture at BHG. That really meant a lot to me.

Best wishes and happy Thursday,

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Yenta Mary I made this last night and it was amazing!!! AMAZING! Just posted the recipe on my blog this am, check it out if you have a chance :) Thanks for the inspiration!!

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