Garlic scapes are a once-a-year late spring treat. Scapes are the flower/seed heads that grow out of hardneck garlic varieties, and harvesting them allows the plant to push its energy back to the underground garlic bulb rather than the flower head. They are whimsical and bold in flavor! Sometimes in mid-winter I get garlic scapes on my mind – this recipe is a great way to preserve them as a yummy pesto so it can be enjoyed all year long.
This delicacy can be used on pizza, pasta, chicken, fish, beef or even eggs. You can also use it as a sandwich spread or condiment. Remember the bottom line is this is garlic – spicy, fresh and pungent.
You will need:
- 10 to 12 garlic scapes, trimmed and chopped (they can be found at local farmers markets in June)
- 1/3 cup toasted pecans
- 1/3 cup hard cheese like Parmigiano (I like to use Bellavitano brand, a Wisconsin artisanal cheese)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (Milanese Gremolata is a great flavored oil which can be found at most specialty olive oil shops in Door County)
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
To prepare your pesto:
In a food processor or blender combine the scapes, pecans, cheese of your choice and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Blend until combined. Using a spatula scrape the sides of the processor; add the additional 1/4 cup of oil and blend again. Salt and pepper the pesto to taste and blend it one last time. If you like your pesto smoother, extend the blending time. I prefer smooth texture with the nuts still recognizable.
To store your pesto:
For refrigerator or immediate use. This pesto will store for up to 2 to 3 weeks, longer if not opened. Spoon the pesto into 1/2 pint jars or small containers, add a thin layer of olive oil to the top of the jar and screw on the lid. The oil protects the pesto from oxygen and helps keep the color true and fresh.
To freeze your pesto, spoon it into an ice cube tray. Freeze overnight, pop the “cubes” out, and store in a gallon size freezer bag. Each cube makes a perfect serving size. It takes 5 or 6 cubes to cover a pound of pasta; 1 or 2 cubes for adding to a chicken or fish dinner. Defrost and use one cube at a time as a condiment for sandwiches or mashed potatoes, or dip for pizza or chips. Bon appétit!