Recipe: Garlic Scape Pesto
This week’s recipe is from Berkshire-based duo The Butcher & The Baker. The Butcher is Jake, a nose-to-tail butcher/artist, who loves to cook and grew up in the woody hills of Western Massachusetts where his passion for local, fresh food was first instilled in him. The Baker is Silka, a designer/crafter who loves to bake and grew up in rural Western New York where her parents are candlestick makers. Together they spend most of their time talking about, shopping for, making, and eating food. By sourcing locally and sustainably, and spending time with the producers of their food, they’ve learned that every meal tells a story.
We’ll scream it, we’ll shout it, we’ll yell it from the rooftops: WE LOVE ALLIUMS. But to pick a favorite one, well that’s something we’re entirely less sure of. Ramps are wild, elusive and inspiring, the onion is the backbone of many-a kitchen, leeks are the class act, and garlic is the most pleasantly utilitarian. Yes, it’s difficult to pick a leader of the pack… but for this post we’ll go with garlic.
We’re used to thinking of garlic as small, papery-white covered bulbs with a hard, pungent flavor. But garlic is actually edible through four distinct phases of its life cycle, each transition much in line with our own seasons. In spring we have spring (or green) garlic—slender, pale green reeds with small, white bulbs that very much resemble scallions. And now, in the summer, we have scapes! Long, elegant, saturated stalks stretching upward toward wispy, curled tails just screaming to be taken home and into the kitchen.
These short-lived pleasures are at their best grilled or sauteed to crispy perfection. But we like to extend our enjoyment as long as possible with this simple pesto recipe. With a quick cook and a speedy spin of the food processor, you’ll have a delicious dipping sauce, pasta topping, aioli addition or rub for butterflied grilled chicken.
Garlic Scape Pesto
1 bunch garlic scapes
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
kosher salt and black pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 1 tbs
1. Chop the scapes into one-inch lengths and saute in a pan with a little olive oil.
2. When the scapes turn a vibrant dark green and release their aroma, remove from the pan.
3. Puree the garlic scapes, pine nuts, Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a food processor until very finely chopped—pulsing works best. Then, with the motor running, slowly pour the oil through the opening. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste. Spread on everything!
The pesto keeps in the fridge for one week or frozen for a year.