I saw these guys at the Farmers Market and though, "What the heck are those?" So out came the phone and Google searching commenced. Garlic Scapes, as it turns out, are a shoot that grows out of the top of the garlic plant. They need to be removed so that the plant can focus on growing the bulb instead of flowering. This is fortunate, because the also happen to be insanely delicious. They taste like garlic, but without the bite, and can be used like scallions.
I bought myself a big handful and set about looking up recipes. The most common way to use them is in a pesto, so of course I did not make that... because I'm weird.
Instead, I made carbonara - with guanciale (cuz I'm legit) and peas (which put an end to my legit-ness, but I don't care cuz I love peas). You are probably wondering what the heck I am talking about, I don't blame you. Here is a link to a great article about the do's and dont's of real carbonara. TLDR (too long, didn't read for all you non-techies) - while bacon and pancetta are acceptable, guanciale is the best; peas are a definite don't.
I also made biscuits - with garlic scapes, Gruyere, and goat butter (another new obsession of mine).
You can, of course, use regular butter - but why would you? Just kidding... mostly. Goat butter has a mild goaty taste (like goat cheese) that I find to be super delicious, but I know it's not for everyone.
This recipe also calls for buttermilk, and I will tell you an awesome trick right now so you don't ever have to buy a thing of buttermilk only to use half of it and see the rest go to waste. Well, you could freeze it; but even better than that - don't buy it in the first place! Take a liquid measuring cup, put in 1 tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice, fill the rest of the way up to 1 cup with milk, let sit 5 minutes - and you have a substitute for buttermilk.
Anyway, these biscuits are awesome - buttery/flaky, with a lovely garlic flavor, and a chewiness from the cheese. I like them warm, slathered with more goat butter.
The last of my garlic scapes got blended up with some white beans, lemon juice, and olive oil to make a delicious garlicky white bean dip.
This is seriously such a fun ingredient - snatch some up if you come across them! Or harvest them yourself if you grown your own garlic.
Garlic Scape Carbonara
adapted from Sarah's Cucina Bella
I have recently learned the benefit of using only 1/2 a box of pasta at a time. I used to look at recipes that said that and think "that's stupid, what will I do with the rest of the box?" But then I ended up with ridiculous amounts of pasta that sat around in the fridge and lingered through leftovers to the point where we got sick of them. It's not like dry pasta can go bad or get stale, so just save the rest to use later. It prevents a lot of waste when you are cooking for 2.
1/2 lb short pasta shape of your choosing (I used whole wheat orecchiette)
3-4 oz guanciale or pancetta, chopped (or 4 slices bacon)
1/4 cup garlic scapes, cut into 1/4 inch coins (about 3)
2 large eggs
1/4 tsp kosher salt
dash red pepper flakes
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
fresh cracked black pepper
Optional: 1/2 cup English peas
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta 1 minute less than lowest number on package instructions.
Meanwhile, cook the guanciale over medium heat until translucent in the middle and opaque on the edges (if you go to all the way opaque, it will be hard and crunchy instead of just a little crisp). Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with a paper towel and add the garlic scapes. Cook until soft (2-3 minutes). Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the guanciale to drain.
Whisk together the eggs, salt, and red pepper flakes.
When the pasta is done, drain it and add back to the pot; turn the burner to low. Stir in the garlic scapes and bacon . Add the peas, if using. Add the egg mixture and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes until sauce is thick and creamy. Do not overcook. Sprinkle the cheese in, a little at a time to avoid clumps, and stir to combine.
Top with a generous grind of black pepper and serve immediately.
Garlic Scape and Gruyere Biscuits with Goat Butter
adapted from The Pink Apron
yields 12 3-inch biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 tbsp cold goat butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
1/4 cup chopped garlic scapes (about 3)
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp melted goat butter
Preheat the oven to 400 deg F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. Add the cold butter and, using a pastry blender or your fingertips, mix the flour and butter together until small, coarse crumbs form. Stir in the cheese and garlic scapes. Add the buttermilk and, using a rubber spatula, stir to form large, moist clumps. (I went ahead and used the full 1 cup of buttermilk substitute that I made. I always use more liquid than called for when making doughs, so that it is easier to form into a ball. Then I knead them with a ton of flour until they are the proper consistency, but that is just me.)
Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead 4 or 5 times, until the dough just holds together. Using floured hands, press the dough together to form a large ball. Roll out the dough to 1/2-inch thickness, dusting with more flour as needed. Using a large round biscuit cutter, cut out the dough and transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Gather up the scraps, reroll and cut out more rounds. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the melted butter.
Bake, rotating the pan from front to back halfway through baking, until the biscuits are golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. Slather with more goat butter, and enjoy.
Garlic Scape and White Bean Dip
adaped from The NY Times
Yields 1 1/2 cups (I made double)
1/3 cup sliced garlic scapes (3 to 4)
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste
1/2 tsp coarse sea salt, more to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling.
In a food processor, process garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt, and pepper until finely chopped. Add cannellini beans and process to a rough purée.
With motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through feed tube and process until fairly smooth. Pulse in 2 or 3 tbsp water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip (I skipped this step). Add more salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice, if desired.
Spoon dip into a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more salt.