It’s officially been summer for a few days now. The container gardens on the main street in my town are decked with little flags and looking very cheery.
Soon we will see the onslaught of summer vegetables. We’ll have more tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers than we know what to do with. The tender greens of spring (spinach, lettuces, kale) will taper off until the weather cools again. I will begin to struggle for ideas about what to do with items in my CSA basket as it becomes more and more bountiful. To date, I’m doing pretty well and it has not gotten ahead of me. This past couple of weeks I’ve been successful with garlic scapes. I made a really nice pesto of them combined with walnuts, a little basil, olive oil, parmesan cheese and lemon zest.
The credit really must go to Deborah Madison’s beautiful compendium Vegetable Literacy, which I consulted for a garlic scape recipe. However, I was missing one key ingredient for Ms. Madison’s pesto and was a little short on garlic scapes, so I made up the difference with some basil. I’m pretty sure you could use spinach or kale as well. I also added lemon juice and lemon zest for a little brightness.
Garlic Scape Pesto (adapted, via Deborah Madison’s Garlic Scape and Walnut Pesto, Vegetable Literacy)
- 6 -8 garlic scapes, flower buds removed
- 8-10 Large basil leaves (a nice fistful)
- ½ cup good olive oil
- ¼ cup walnuts, unsalted
- ¼ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano, in small chunks
- 1 tsp lemon juice and/or
- ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon of salt, or to taste (the parmesan is salty)
Dice the garlic scapes and combine with the other ingredients except ¼ cup of the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse a few times, then add the rest of the olive oil gradually and continue pulsing until mixture achieves the desired consistency. I’ve enjoyed my pesto most as a spread on toasted bread, and I like to add a dab of goat cheese beside it. I am also curious about using Marcona almonds in place of the walnuts.