Cooking with Garlic Scapes

May is finally here, which means farmers markets, CSAs, and local farm stands are returning in full force. When shopping for fresh produce, there’s a good chance you might stumble across something you haven’t seen before: garlic scapes. What exactly are scapes? These winding, curly green shoots are the flowering portion of the garlic plant.

While you’re undoubtedly used to cooking with (and eating!) the bulb, garlic scapes are becoming more and more ubiquitous—they’re popping up in cookbooks, appearing on menus, and invading your favorite store’s produce section. And with good reason: these twisting, vibrant stalks are delicious. They taste similar to the bulb itself, but the flavor is more delicate and mild. If you’re wondering how to incorporate them into your recipe repertoire, we asked our favorite chefs and cookbook authors about the best ways to use scapes.

Todd Heberlein, the chef at Volante Farms in Needham and one of the forces behind the forthcoming Volante Farms cookbook, uses them to make a sweet pea and garlic scape pesto, which he uses on pasta, pizza, asparagus salad, and even as a dip. He also likes to incorporate them into fresh, homemade hummus.

Leigh Belanger, author of the upcoming meal-planning cookbook My Kitchen Chalkboard, likes to toss scapes into stir-fries. She thinly slices them and adds them to the pan alongside other longer-cooking veggies to give her dish a subtle garlicky kick.

Chef Samuel Monsour, co-author of American Burger Revival: Brazen Recipes to Electrify a Timeless Classic, likes to use raw scapes to make a zesty, bold chimichurri, which he tops on every meat and seafood imaginable. His co-author Richard Chudy prefers to pickle them and either eat them on their own or mix them with other seasonal veggies.

So now that you’re a scape artist (pun obviously intended), get your hands on a bunch and get cooking!


Top image courtesy of Carol Hart. Top left image courtesy of Volante Farms.