In a comment on our recent post about garlic scapes, Emily Wilson suggested a recipe for using the scapes to make a pesto. Being ever game and truly wanting some way to use the scapes beyond adding them to flower arrangements I gave the recipe a whirl last night.
As Emily posted it, the recipe was,
8 oz. garlic scapes
1 C. olive oil
2 C. Parmesan cheese
Of course, not being able to leave any recipe unimproved, I made adjustments.
First off, I cut the recipe in half and trimmed the scapes to eliminate the very tips, which where a bit dry due the recent hot weather, and the woodier lower parts. So, I used about 3″ – 4″ of the scape surrounding the flower bud. And, every pesto I’ve ever had included some kind of nut – pine nuts, walnuts, almonds, etc. so I added pine nuts. After running the ingredients through the food processor it seemed a bit dry so I added some additional olive oil. My version:
4 oz. garlic scapes
3/4 C. olive oil
1 C. Parmesan cheese
1/4 C. pine nuts
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
The end result was tasty, but not for the faint of heart. The garlic taste is very assertive and a bit hot – certainly sufficient to keep any vampires at bay. Also, the end product looks a bit anemic, although that, too, might be appropriate for a vampire pesto. In hindsight, I think blanching the scapes would take away a bit of the garlic heat and adding a little parsley would give the pesto a somewhat darker/richer color for better plate appeal.