Crazy corkscrews of green topped with an elegant spike – pretty, and they smell like garlic so you know this has to be good. Even before I knew what they were, or what they were for, I bought a handful and brought them home.
These are garlic scapes, wonderful veggies that can be use in many ways. You can make pesto out of them, slice them thinly into your salads, use them in stir-fries, gently sautéed as a side dish or tossed in olive oil and grilled.
Garlic scapes, or flower stalks, emerge from hard-necked varieties of garlic. The stalks wind up as they grow and form eccentric curlicues. Snipping off the scapes before the flowerheads mature allows the plant to direct more energy into the developing garlic bulb, so growers snip them off for a garlic scape harvest in mid-June.
When the garlic scapes are still in full curl, they are tender and succulent. They have a garlicky taste that is milder than the eventual garlic cloves, with the tender snap of just-picked asparagus.
I cut some of mine up and tossed them in a pan with potatoes, mushrooms and onions. A bit of salt and pepper, a goodly dose of olive oil and they’re off to be sautéed on the barbeque side burner.