The Great Scape

The "scape" is the curling, flowering top of the garlic plant. In New England garlic typically starts to flower in June, and you'll suddenly see scapes for sale everywhere for a couple weeks. The idea is that if you snap/cut off the flowering part of the garlic, the plant will then direct more of its resources to the juicy bulb instead of "wasting" them on a reproductive flower.

So what do you do with scapes? They're kinda like a scallion that's gone mildly garlic. I've used them in the following ways:

Add them to a baked chicken. Stick some under the skin, arrange the chicken on a nest of scapes, put more in the bird's cavity. Scapes can add just a hint o' garlic perfume to the meat--though not strong enough to carry the whole seasoning job on their own. (Suggest using lemon and possibly also marjoram for this.)

Cut them up like a scallion. You can use the whole thing, not just the white or green bits. Add scape flecks to omelettes, meatballs, 3-bean salad, salsa.

Roast them with potatoes. I adapted this from some Martha Stewart grilling recipe. Get about 6 (or more) red potatoes. Wash them and cut them into quarters. Then take 4 feet of tin foil and double it. Pile the potatoes and at least 10 whole scapes on one side of the foil. Fold the foil over and crimp around the edges to seal. Throw on a hot grill for about 20 minutes--10 minutes per side. If you MUST check how they're cooking, just uncrimp a little tiny corner and poke a potato to see if it's soft. Then seal back up so not too much steam escapes. Just before serving, unwrap foil and put potatoes in a bowl with a hunk of butter plus salt and pepper. Dang good!

Next up: garlic harvest. This is supposed to happen when about 2/3 of the plant looks brown and dry. Usually in July or August.

No comments: