Don’t let the season for garlic scapes escape

Sharing a sideyard garden, my mother-in-law and I have determined which crops warrant room for their diversity and flavor.

Corn, that space and nutrient hog, hasn’t been a contender for years. Broccoli and okra: both out for similar reasons.

The one crop we allow to tie up a good amount of bed space for six months or so is garlic. The flavor of home-grown garlic is unsurpassed, particularly with much of the stuff sold in grocery stores coming from China these days. We just harvested soft-neck garlic, which is juicy and pungent enough to spice a stir-fry of snow peas with no other seasonings for support.

But before the cloves, of course, come the scapes, the topic of this week’s A Fresh Approach column. As Jan Roberts-Dominguez explained, scapes are the stalks and seed heads of members of the allium family. The whole thing is edible although many gardeners don’t view them that way.

My mother-in-law is one who eagerly plucks them with the belief she’s encouraging better bulbs. But eat the scapes? Why on Earth would you do that? So she saves them for me.

You eat scapes for the simple reason that they’re just plain good and versatile, to boot. This spring, I used the first found at local growers markets (10 for $1) in a pesto for wild mushroom and kale pizza.

Once our own were ready, I sliced them, sauteed them in butter and olive oil added them to angel-hair pasta with no other accouterments than toasted pine nuts and pecorino cheese. When I returned home from a long weekend and had energy to cook only the simplest supper, I again sauteed some sliced scapes in butter and scrambled eggs in the same pan. A couple nights later, I repeated the maneuver but added slices of fresh 4-H lamb liver to skillet.

Is a theme emerging here? If none of those ideas appeal to you, Jan provided plenty of delicious appetizer recipe in this week’s A la Carte

I spotted just one bunch of scapes (five for $1) at today’s Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market in Medford, so there’s not much chance of making scape pesto. So tonight I’ll slice the last few in the fridge and scatter them on my egg-topped pizza.

The season is almost over, but if you’re handed a bouquet of scapes, don’t wait for them to bloom. Eat ’em.

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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