For all of you garlic lovers out there, you know who you are! Please please PLEASE tell me that you have at some point in your life tried fresh garlic. And by fresh I don't mean from Whole Foods, I mean straight out of someone's garden, bought at the farmers market really fresh garlic. If you haven't had fresh garlic yet, find a farmers market, like today, and go buy yourself some garlic. I am not exaggerating when I say that it literally will change your life...well at least when it comes to cooking.
My family and I first got hooked on fresh garlic when Mike brought some to our house from his families garden. My Mom was blown away by how amazing it tasted and how much it impacted our Italian cooking that she would always ask Mike to bring some more up when he would go to visit his family. We realized that our obsession with fresh garlic was too strong to keep borrowing so last Fall my Dad decided to plant his own crop of garlic in the garden.
What is one of the best parts of having your own fresh garlic is the fact that you get to harvest the scape. The scape of the garlic is the long green stem which grows out of the grounds almost in wisps. You wouldn't think anything of this stem by looking at it but boy does it pack a serious punch. You can usually find the stems around this time of year at farmers markets so definitely be on the lookout for them. One of my favorite ways to enjoy garlic scapes is to use them for a Garlic Scape Pesto. Once again this revelation came from Mike's family and for that I am very grateful. If you love garlic trust me when I say you will be obsessed with this pesto. This pesto I think is great on crackers or pita bread, but is also an amazing spread to put on top of pizza or mix in with pasta.
Fresh Garlic Scape Pesto (Makes Six Ounces of Pesto)
Ingredients: 10 garlic scapes, 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, 1/3 cup Parmigiano cheese (or Nutritional Yeast to make a Vegan Pesto), 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/2 tsp sea salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Cut scapes at base & remove seed pod at the top then cut scapes into inch long pieces. Process scapes & walnuts in food processor until blended & smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil & process until integrated. With a rubber spatula scoop pesto out of food processor & into a glass mixing bowl. Add Parmigiano (or nutritional yeast if making the vegan version) & blend in with spatula. Add Sea Salt and Pepper to taste.
This pesto will keep in a refrigerator for up to a week and will freeze for a very long time if you place it in an airtight container. So make a whole batch this summer so you can enjoy it all winter long. Trust me you are going to want to!