So I went to the Farmer’s Market the other day. This market is one of my favorite signs of summer; full of local produce, locally made soaps and jams and jewelry and breads. Locally raised meats, and eggs and cheese.
I love it.
I love going there on Friday afternoons and seeing what I can find for the week.
Of course, these are early days for markets in New England, especially up here in Northern Massachusetts. Sure, the lettuce is great and the eggs are plentiful, but we are weeks away from tomatoes and cukes and summer squash.
But this is the season of the wonderful, woefully underappreciated garlic scapes.
The scapes are the tall loops of stalk that the garlic bulb sends up in early summer. They are filled with all of the flavor of a garlic clove, but they’re more tender and a bit less bitter.
I’ve been using them for years, cut up and sauteed in place of the minced cloves. But the other day I realized that in my enthusiasm over the market’s reopening, I’d bought more than I could use in such a casual way.
I had four big piles of garlic scapes, and I needed to find a way to use them.
Enter the world of “Garlic Scape Pesto”.
This is the point where I need to remind you that I had NO IDEA of what I was doing. None. I’d never made this dish. In fact, I hadn’t made regular old unexciting basil pesto for a few years.
But I had those scapes. I had a husband who loves pasta. I had some time. And I had the internet.
I researched “garlic scapes” and “garlic scape pesto” and “what the hell does one do with so many garlic scapes” and a few other items.
And I read. I read around ten recipes for pesto made with scapes. I noticed that they all had a lot in common. Mince the scapes as finely as you can, add olive oil, salt, pepper and some good cheese.
So, I put my scapes into a food processor. I minced the living daylights out of them. They were still woody and tough. So I added about 1/4 cup of olive oil. Mince again. Add some salt. Add some pepper. Mince even more.
Still woody. Still kind of tough.
So….on a whim, I added some fresh lemon juice. Where did I get this idea? Well, I had some extra lemons around. And I know that lemons and summery garlicky salads go together.
Juice in, mincing on.
Finally, I seemed to have a decent garlicky paste.
I put it in a fry pan, and warmed it up. I realized that the bits of garlic scape were still sort of chunky in there. I like a creamier pesto texture. So I added in about a 1/2 cup of cream and I grated in a bunch of Romano cheese.
Now, most pesto recipes call for Parmagiano cheese, but I prefer Romano. That’s what I had, that’s what I used.
And I also added a couple of tablespoons of pignole nuts. Because yum.
I stirred it all. I simmered it.
It was all VERY easy. The whole shebang took me about 15 minutes, tops.
When Paul came home from work, I cooked up some frozen spinach ravioli and put the pesto on top.
Very garlicky, but who cares? As long as both members of the sleeping squad eat it, who really cares?
You should try this. So easy. So simple. But you still get to casually mention to your work friends that “last night I made some garlic scape pesto ravioli.” I guarantee they’ll be impressed.