Scape-rubbed chicken

Scapes are back in season! Bushels and bushels of them are available at the Brattleboro Farmer's Market and at local farm stands, each one representing a garlic plant that is being persuaded to turn its attention to its root, and forget about the normal flowering thing. These sinuous unopened flowers have coiled their way into my very refrigerator, and it's up to me to figure out what to do with them.

Six years ago I posted a few ideas, and I came up with a tofu-based recipe in 2008. But I wanted something different today, and kid-friendly, so I turned to the "scape pesto" idea. "Pesto" means "paste" in Italian. In Southern France the same thing is called "Pistou." It usually involves basil and olive oil, but one can definitely swap things around.

I put the scapes into the food processor--maybe about 10 scapes here

Add 1/2 cup walnuts

Do a rough chop of scapes  walnuts before adding olive oil

Drizzle in olive oil with the food processor on, maybe 1/2 cup. Think emulsification. Add salt too.

After over a minute of blending and scraping down, things are starting to look more creamy

I slathered a bunch of pesto on the bottom of a baking dish

Three chicken breasts (tenderloins removed) go on top

Cover chicken breasts with more pesto. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes--or more!

This was a hit with kids (the one who eats chicken anyway), so I count it a success. It was a very mild flavor though, tasting as much of walnuts as it did of garlic scapes. Which is fine. If serving to grown-ups though, I might bake it for longer to try to create a pesto crust. I might also add cilantro to the mixture for more of a kick.

You pesto-philes might be asking--where's the cheese? I decided not to add any parmesan to this recipe because I didn't want it to burn as I baked the chicken.
Do you have a great scape recipe? Do you make your own pesto?

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