Garlic scapes are the edible curlicue shoots that emerge out of the ground as the top part of the plant in springtime, before the garlic bulb itself is edible. Here in New York, scapes came into season in late May and are still around now, so you might be able to find them at your local farmers market.
Scapes have a spicy garlic flavor, which you can mellow out by sauteeing them, but I prefer to turn garlic scapes into pesto.
I spread the pesto on sandwiches as a spicy alternative to mustard...
Add it to mayonnaise for a dipping sauce that feels like the essence of springtime...
(Here it went especially well with roasted potatoes, asparagus, and grilled soft shell crabs)
And freeze it in an ice cube tray so that I can defrost only as much pesto as I need later in the season.
It's easy peasy to make if you have a food processor or blender. I use almonds because that's what I tend to have on hand, but you could also sub in walnuts or pine nuts - it's flexible. And I like to add vinegar for an extra kick, but you could leave that out. Other great optional ingredients include: parmesan, lemon juice, basil, parsley, other herbs.
Garlic Scape Pesto
1 lb garlic scapes
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vinegar
Combine ingredients in food processor until smooth. Add additional oil or vinegar until it reaches a creamy consistency and desired taste.
first photo via flickr