Garlic Scape and Kale Pesto

Photo from Green City Market in Chicago.


For the June 10 Glade Road Growing expects to deliver lettuce mix, salanova lettuce, kale, radishes, garlic scapes, rainbow chard and summer squash.

So what are scapes?     

Scapes are a flowering stalk each head of hard-neck garlic sends up this time of year.  Glade Road harvests the scapes while they are tender, not only to provide a versatile veggie, but to preserve the nutrients for the garlic bulbs so that they will be bigger when they are dug up later in the season.

My favorite use for scapes is pesto

I combine the scapes with kale to make it slightly milder and a brighter green.  I make my version lower-fat by using water, but you can substitute equal amount of extra-virgin olive oil for a richer condiment.

Yield:  about 1-1/2 cups of pesto.

1 cup garlic scapes (about 8 or 9 scapes) cut into ¼-inch slices

3-5 leaves kale (I prefer lacinato, but I'm not sure what kind we're getting tomorrow.  Remove the tough stems, roll the leaves slice thinly (i.e. chiffonade)
up to 3/4 c water or olive oil
1/3 cup walnuts, almonds or pecans, toasted, if desired
1/2 cup grated Asiago, Romano or Parmesan cheese
fresh ground black pepper to taste

 Directions: Place scapes, kale and nuts in a heavy-duty blender or a food processor and grind until well combined, but still chunky, drizzling in water or oil as needed to process.

Using a spatula, transfer to a pint mason jar and stir in cheese, Grind in pepper to taste.

Your pesto will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. If you don't want to use it right away, transfer it to an ice-cube tray and freeze.  Remove cubes and store in an air-tight container and defrost and use one cube at a time throughout the year until scapes come back in season.

This pesto is great tossed with pasta (hot or cold in a pasta salad) or served as a spread on breads.

Photo from Diane Dyer

Other alternatives for scapes

Scapes are most pungent when raw.  They can be chopped and added to salad dressing.

For a milder flavor, lightly steam the scapes and toss with soy sauce and sesame oil or saute them in butter or olive oil, the same way you would for green beans or asparagus.  They will be crunchy with a mild flavor of garlic.

Another alternative is to pickle them.

If you have never heard of  salanova lettuce... 

it's because this variety just began being sold commercially in 2013, after being developed a few years ago by the Netherlands global seed company Rijk Zwaan.  Here's a picture from Glade Road Growing's facebook page:

And if you want recipes for Swiss Chard

Chard is in the beet family, so it's sweeter than kale and can be used whenever you would use spinach.  I like chard steam or sauteed as a side veggie or combined with eggs in omelets, frittatas and quiches.

Here's a recipe you can cook now:
Swiss Chard with Balsamic Syrup and Garbanzo Beans (7/2/10)

And another for when eggplant comes in season
Eggplant Rollups with Swiss Chard  (8/12/13)