Garlic scapes are one of those things where you either know what to do with them or you don’t. So what are garlic scapes? They are the beautifully, twirly stalks that grow from a garlic plant. Normally, if left alone the scape will bloom, but to allow more energy to be diverted to the garlic plant the scape is cut before having a chance to flower.
Garlic scapes have a mild, garlicky flavour that is not as pronounced as it’s bulbous counterpart. I’ve had them pickled, bbq’ed and in dishes like quiche and they always lend a wonderful bit of garlic to a dish. For years, I’ve been making garlic scape pesto every time this green comes into season. Normally I would use a basic basil pesto recipe and swap out half of the herb for the scapes . Here I’ve switched out the basil completely and substituted arugula and the pine nuts that would normally go into basil pesto with walnuts.
This pesto definitely has a bite to it. The flavours of the scapes, the garlic and the arugula give this pesto a distinct “spiciness” that I love. Add it to pasta, rice or even meat dishes. It tastes great as a dressing on chicken or pork. Just add a bit more olive oil to thin it out if needed.
You can pick up garlic scapes from the Downtown Windsor Farmers Market. They are only available for a limited time so I tend to buy quite a bit to make a large batch of pesto and store it for the rest of the year.
Arugula, Garlic Scape Pesto
- 2 cups arugula
- 2 cups garlic scapes, chopped
- 1/2 cup Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese
- 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Add the Parmeggiano Reggiano, walnuts and garlic to a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Add the arugula, garlic scapes and process. While the ingredients are blending, slowly add the olive oil until the consistency is like a coarse paste.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Store the pesto in small containers and place in the freezer. When you’re ready to use them just defrost. If I’m making a pasta dish I add a bit more olive oil as the pesto can sometimes become dry from being in the freezer.
Makes about 6 small containers plus some to use that evening for dinner.