Saturday, June 2, 2012

Garlic scapes

This week's entry isn't so much a recipe as it is a recommendation that you try garlic scapes (or garlic spears, as they're sometimes called). They're only available for a short window in mid-May to early June, and some years I miss it, so it's also a reminder to me for years hence.

Garlic scapes are essentially baby garlic, harvested before the heads mature and all the garlic flavor is still in the stem. Lightly sauteed, they taste something like a garlic asparagus. (They don't cook like asparagus, though: asparagus when overcooked is very tender, whereas scapes get tough when overcooked.)

My pictures are of garlic spears, which have straighter stems and larger bulbs. I prefer scapes, given the choice, but whenever I run across either in stores I just grab them.

Ingredients (serves 2):
1/2 lb garlic scapes
2 tsp butter
2 cups dry pasta of your choice
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp butter
flaked or shredded parmesan cheese

1) Boil the pasta for the amount of time indicated on the box, usually 7-9 minutes.

2) Cut the scapes into bite-sized pieces. (Since they can get a bit tough if overcooked, you don't want to risk having to struggle biting through long pieces.)

3) Saute the scapes in butter for 3 minutes on a high heat. (If using spears with the larger heads, saute the heads for 2 minutes separately, then add the stems and do 3 more minutes.)

4) When the pasta is done, drain in a colander, Mix butter and lemon juice in the still-warm pot, and then flavor the pasta with it.

5) Layer the pasta first, then parmesan, then scapes on top, and serve hot.

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