Posts Tagged ‘Garlic scapes’

Garlic fresh_P6288157

Garlic Scapes_P6288150

‘Tis the season for all types of fresh vegetables, but one of our favorites is fresh garlic.  And, when it arrives, so do garlic scapes.  Both are less pungent than dried garlic (which my son, Chris, tells me I always use too much of in everything) and the bulb has a sweetness that is only detected in the dried when it is roasted.  This is an easy recipe that allows that flavor to shine.


4 to 5 cups chicken stock or low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth

⅓ cup unsalted butter

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

8 ounces diced pancetta

2 bulbs fresh garlic, peeled and finely minced

1 shallot, peeled and minced

8 ounces arborio rice

Zest of 1 orange

Salt and pepper

½ cup finely chopped garlic scapes

½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese plus more to taste
Place the chicken stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a bare simmer, lower the heat, and leave on the heat as you prepare the rice, taking care that it doesn’t boil and lose volume.

Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or just until the pancetta begins to crisp.  Add the garlic and shallot and continue to cook, stirring frequently, for another 4 minutes or until the aromatics have softened, but not taken on any color.

Add the rice and orange zest and cook, stirring constantly, for about a minute or until the rice is glistening.   Season with salt and pepper.

Begin adding the stock, a large ladleful at a time, allowing the rice to absorb the stock before adding more.  Cook, stirring constantly, for about 30 minutes or until the “sauce” is creamy and the rice is almost cooked.  Add the scapes and cook, stirring, for about another 5 minutes or until the rice is al dente.

Stir in the cheese, taste, and, if necessary, season with salt and pepper.

Remove from the heat and ladle into shallow soup bowls, sprinkling with additional cheese, if desired.


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As summer comes in with a bang – thunderstorms have been daily occurrences since the first day of summer at the end of June – I pay my respects to the last bit of spring on our menu.  I’ve talked about fiddlehead ferns in past posts, but since they are such a seasonal treat, I’d like to talk about them again.  Fiddleheads are not cultivated so the only way you can experience them is through picking them yourself or purchasing from a farmers market or local forager.  Plus I think they are only found in the United States in the northeast, but I could be wrong about this.  All of these things make them, I think, even more special.  I use them as a vegetable as well as a component in spring pasta dishes.  Our farewell batch turned into a lovely light dinner sautéed with some chopped garlic scapes in butter and extra virgin olive oil and then tossed with crumbled ricotta salata in homemade pasta.  I already am thinking about what next spring might bring.

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We’re big fans of pork, but commercially available pork – that is pork found om  supermarkets and most butchershops – is so lean that its flavor is almost nonexistant and it can be very tough when grilled or roasted.  So, we brine it before we cook it – whether on the grill, in braises, or in the oven – to add a subtle hint of herby saltiness and to tenderize.  I generally do about ½ cup each of salt and sugar along with whatever herbs compliment the finished dish – or if I am just roasting or grilling, whatever herbs I have on hand in addition to a bay leaf or two.  Here are some photos of a bone-in pork roast that you see being brined and then ready to be roasted coated with olive oil, lemon zest, salt and pepper, herbs tucked in between the bones, and wrapped in the last garlic scapes of the season.  By the time the roast was ready the scapes had disintegrated but left a definite sweet garlic flavor to the meat.

(If you aren’t familiar with garlic scapes they are simply “flower stalks” of hardneck garlic plants.  Scapes are generally cut off of the growing plant early in the season as they pull energy from the developing bulb.   Until recently, the scapes went into the garbage heap or the compost, even though they are delicious and quite edible.  Both farmer and consumer awareness has brought them to the market – although usually only to farmers markets or roadside stands).



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