Green Garlic Part II - The Great Scape
Luis and I have grown garlic at home for as long as I can remember. Each year around this time, the plants produce a shoot that is long and thin, pliable enough to curl in gorgeous tendrils.
Botanically known as scapes, they are flowering stems, usually leafless, rising from the crown of the plant. Not knowing what to do with it, I remembered my Dad’s advice; trim away unwanted flowers on certain plants. Keeping the shoot attached curtails further growth of the bulb.
To allow the garlic to keep growing, we trimmed away the tender tips. A few years ago we discovered the culinary side of the scape. Mild and tender, with the texture of asparagus, they have a gentle garlic flavor. The secret to scape cookery is to pick them early — the earlier the better. At home, the scape is great fun; try dicing it into scrambled eggs, adding to a veggie stir fry or sautéed with marinara for a quick pasta sauce.
At Big Bowls in Chicago, we get our garlic scapes from Harmony Valley Organic Farm in Wisconsin. Look for them on the stir fry bar or ask the chef to add a few to your chef inspired dish. They aren’t around for long and they are a treat we look forward to every year.