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Garlic Scape Pesto

by • June 12, 2013 9 Comments

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If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: Garlic scapes want to be made into pesto. Let them. 

How to Make Garlic Scape Pesto

Before I learned how to drive, I learned how to describe garlic scapes. Anytime I was asked by a table in the restaurant where I worked, I answered, diligent and practiced: scapes are the tendril-like stalks that grow out of garlic. Then I'd say the soup that they were in was fantastic, and that if I had to choose, I'd drink the Viognier alongside. I was sixteen. 

I didn't learn to cook with scapes until much later, and it wasn't until I did that I fully understood their charm. They're whimsical, their flavor perky but reined-in, like an eccentric but polite new friend. They became what I added to a dish when I wanted garlic but didn't want to commit to its assertive bite. 

I've never put them in a soup of my own -- something about closing a chapter -- but pesto is beginning to make a regular appearance at dinner. Toss it with pasta, spread it on toast; thin it with more olive oil and it'll become a happy alternative to whatever you've been dressing your salads with. 

Garlic scapes know not to overstay their welcome; they're harvested early so that their fellow bulbs can flourish. This means you'll have to find them soon, and cook them now.  

How to Make Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto 

1 cup garlic scapes, thinly sliced crosswise 
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup Parmesan 
Salt and pepper, to taste 

Get the full recipe (and save it and print it) here. 

Photos by Eric Moran

Topics: What to Cook, Editors' Picks

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Comments (9)


about 2 years ago LauriL

OH No! Did I miss Scape season?


about 2 years ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

You should still be able to find them!


about 2 years ago ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This is a truly inspired idea. Looking forward to buying some scapes this weekend! And in return, I'll suggest to you to make this soup http://food52.com/recipes... using the scapes. Turns the soup from winter to summer!


about 2 years ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Love this! Thanks for the recipe.


about 2 years ago Daria Faulkner

just made it last Sat. tastes great and worked just fine to make these nori rolls http://spiritedrecipes...


about 2 years ago Kitty Leering

What might be a nice addition to this recipe is, radish leafs. You know when you bought radishes, you always through away the nice green leafs? Don't. Throw them in the blender, with the rest of the ingredients, to make a spicy pesto. And if you want to make it a lighter in calories: replace the oil with ricotta cheese.....


about 2 years ago Marian Bull

This is actually amazing stirred into ricotta!


about 2 years ago Brette Warshaw

This was soooo good as a salad dressing. Can't make to make it at home and use it on everything!


about 2 years ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Managing Editor of Food52.

Two words: avocado bowls. (A la Dash and Bella.)