Friday, July 22, 2016
Garlic Scape Pesto
That stuff above is Garlic Scape Pesto. It's a yummy, garlicky pesto, made with the scapes of the garlic. Did I say it's garlicky? Very, very garlicky. If you like just a mild flavor of garlic, this recipe is not for you. You should try the regular--and equally delicious--pesto.
See those white tops of my garlic plants there? Those are the scapes--basically, the tops of the garlic plants that produce the seed head. Before the seeds burst out, and while the heads are still small, the scapes can be picked and used in many different recipes.
The scapes were a little larger than I wanted them to be, but I went through the garlic beds and snipped off all the ones I felt were still usable. Many had the seeds starting to push through, so I left those to bloom; I'll harvest those later for next year's seeds.
For this garlic plant, the seeds have already burst through. They start off a deep purply red, and actually flower! This particular one is a large head with large seeds, so I'll definitely be using it next year. (I save only the largest seeds for the best crop the following year.)
I snipped off the scapes with my kitchen shears.
TIME OUT for a random photo of a woodpecker in the dead pine tree on the church side of our back yard fence!
I had heard the tap-tap-tap of his beak, and figured I'd try to find him in the tree. Success!!
Okay, on to the recipe...
Garlic Scape Pesto
2 cups garlic scapes
4 cups packed basil leaves
1/2 cup almonds (or pine nuts, or walnuts)
1 teaspoon (or so) salt
1 cup evoo (extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Romano (or a blend) cheese (nothing like freshly grated!)
Cut off any tough stem parts on either side of each garlic scape bulb. Put scapes and basil leaves in a blender and pulse briefly, then scrape. Do this a few times, then add nuts and pulse-scrape again a few more times. Add the salt.
Now, while setting blender on a lower blend setting (you choose--I have a Bosch Universal Mixer and set it on 2), slowly pour the evoo into the blender. You may have to stop and scrape down sides (I do), but eventually it'll blend really nicely. Keep blending until all ingredients are the consistency you desire--some like a thicker pesto and some like it more smooth. You can see mine below.
At this point, I scrape the pesto out of the blender and into a bowl, then hand-stir in the fresh Parmesan. That way, it doesn't get obliterated in the blender and keeps its consistency. If you're using store-bought (aka Kraft), the Parmesan is basically powdered and it doesn't matter when you add it in. (But please, use fresh!)
Use and Storage
Serve this on crackers, on top of baked/grilled chicken, on pizza or pasta. Or eat it by the spoonful. You'll need breath mints for the rest of the day, though.
Store in the fridge for a week or two, if it lasts that long.
Long-term storage--I freeze my pesto in portions using ice cube trays. After a day or two (or when I remember!), I pop the cubes out and wrap them in individual squares of plastic wrap, then pop into a freezer bag and label with the date. They freeze beautifully! We're actually still eating up pesto from last year's harvest (late summer), and it still tastes fresh and awesome.
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