There are 2 main varieties of garlic, hardneck and softneck. Softneck garlic usually doesn’t produce a flower stalk, and is used to make garlic braids. It is easier to plant mechanically, and stores longer, which is why it’s the kind most common at the grocery store. Hardneck garlic has fewer, larger cloves and is easier to peel (which makes it less able to store well). It also sends up a flower stalk called a scape. If this stalk is left to flower, it takes some of the vitality from the bulb forming underground, resulting in a smaller harvest. Most farmers remove the scape soon after it appears. Luckily for allium-loving foodies, the scapes have some amazing culinary powers.
We planted one hardneck garlic at Seven Trees last fall, Chesnok Red. It was time to cut the scapes this week, and they were turned into incredibly tasty garlic scape pesto. There were raw pistachios on hand because we had planned to make Turkish delight from the rose petal syrup, so this was a perfect recipe. Some pesto recipes use pine nuts or walnuts, so I’m sure improvising won’t hurt a bit. We made enough to enjoy right away, and another batch for the freezer.
- 10 whole Garlic Scapes
- ½ cups Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
- ⅓ cups Shelled, Unsalted Pistachios
- ½ cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
Add the scapes, cheese and pistachios to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the scapes and nuts are very finely chopped. Slowly add the olive oil, while pulsing, until it forms a wet paste. Season with pepper. Add more oil if you desire a “wetter” pesto, especially if tossing with pasta.