Last updated on February 15th, 2021
Written by Danielle Oteri
People get all excited about ramps, but scapes are a lot more fun, especially when you can use them in garlic scape pesto.
Scapes look like they were invented by Cirque du Soleil. Or an alien. Or aliens performing Cirque du Soleil.
They are the quirky, twirly, tendrils from a young garlic bulb that have have just turned up in farmer’s markets and will only last through the end of June.
I highly recommend that you buy as many as you can get your hands on.
When I first discovered them last summer, I chopped and sauteed them with chard and kale in lieu of regular garlic.
The flavor is strong, but without the pungency of garlic.
In other words, you’re still able to have a fabulous make-out session after a meal made with scapes.
Tonight, I chopped them up and mixed them into scrambled eggs.
This weekend, I’m going to make a trip to the Inwood farmer’s market and buy a few dozen to turn into garlic scape pesto, which I can freeze and use for months to come.
You can certainly mix garlic scape pesto with pasta, but I like to use it as a sandwich spread.
Editor’s Note: If you are allergic to walnuts and other tree nuts, you can always substitute traditional pine nuts in this pesto, as they are seeds, not true nuts.
Unsalted pepitas (roasted pumpkin seeds) also make a fine, budget-friendly substitute in any pesto – not just garlic scape pesto.
- 5 garlic scapes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 cup basil leaves
- 10 walnuts
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano cheese
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- Grind scapes, basil, and walnuts in a food processor or mash with a mortar and pestle until the herbs and nuts dissolve into a smooth paste.
- Pulse or mix in the cheese and red pepper.
- Drizzle in the olive oil, pulsing or stirring until smooth and well blended.
- Add salt and pepper to your taste.