On a recent morning at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market, garlic scapes filled a wooden crate from Twin Springs Fruit Farm. Don’t know them? They’re the long, flowerless stalks that twist and curl from a bulb of garlic. Farmers often remove the scapes early on in the growing cycle, since leaving them intact stints the plant’s growth. But scapes have an appeal all their own, with a garlicky bite that’s toned down by a sweet aftertaste. Here’s what you need to know:
Growing season: June.
Where to find them:
What to do with scapes:
Equinox chef/owner Todd Gray suggests placing the scapes in a hot pan with olive oil and pan-roasting them for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. Add ½ teaspoon of minced garlic, ½ cup of peeled, seeded, diced tomatoes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 3 minutes, then finish with ½ teaspoon of fresh oregano. Serve with grilled country bread.
Chef Matt Hill of Liberty Tavern loves the texture of the scapes. He advises blanching them and shocking them before sautéeing in a mixture of grapeseed and olive oils. They work nicely as a side to softshell crabs.
At Mediterranean restaurant Iron Gate, chef Anthony Chittum pickles scapes with plenty of dill. In a large pot, combine the following ingredients and bring them to a boil: 3 garlic cloves, ½ teaspoon cracked black peppercorns, 1½ teaspoons pickling salt, ¾ cup white wine vinegar, ¼ cup champagne vinegar, 1 cup water, and ¼ cup sugar. Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, pour the mixture into a large bowl or container and place it in an ice bath. Slice 1 pound of scapes into 4-inch sticks and steam them for 2 minutes so they are still very sturdy, but slightly cooked. Arrange them as tightly as possible into sterilized mason jars. Mix ¼ cup of roughly chopped dill with the cooled pickling liquid and pour over the scapes so they are completely submerged. Put the lids on the jars and store in the refrigerator for at least 2 days before using.