Putting Vegetables Into the Spotlight

So, we know that sometimes your CSA share can be a little daunting. (How do I store green garlic? How will I use all of these vegetables? What on earth am I supposed to do with the mutant-looking kohlrabi?) And, we know that your lives are busy enough that this isn’t always enough time to spend hours scouring recipe books and cooking blogs for the perfect thing to do with fresh spring peas. So, we’ve decided to take the challenge for you.

Starting this week: The Vegetable Spotlight Challenge. For Chefs. One week. One ingredient. Fame, glory, and four very full farmer bellies.

That’s right. Each week, the farmer’s over here are choosing one ingredient to highlight. Check in here on Mondays (I know, I know, I’m already running behind schedule this week) to find storage tips, cooking discussions, and recipes (with pictures!) from what we eat here in the farmhouse! Hopefully, this will give you some ideas as you plan out how to use your vegetables for the week.

First up, ahem, drum-roll please….. Garlic scapes! Those alluringly curly but potentially perplexing green rods. Maybe you’ve tried them, maybe you love them, maybe you’ve never been bold enough to choose a unit of them over a unit of spinach. Regardless, it’s time to give them a second look.

As we posted about earlier, garlic scapes are the reproductive part of the garlic plant. They grow out of the top of the bulb and begin forming little heads of cloves. Their taste is a little milder than a garlic bulb, but they can still pack a punch, and while you’re still waiting for the cured bulbs, scapes have a lot of the same health benefits as the other parts of the garlic plant. Plus, they’re more versatile than you think: you can eat them sauteed, grilled, chopped up like regular garlic, or pureed into soups of pestos. This week, our recipes feature oven-roasted crispy scapes, pasta and garlic scape pesto, and peanut and sesame noodles with vegetables and scapes.

On Monday, I roasted garlic scapes, which is insanely easy, but I somehow still managed to botch. Ideally, you want to follow one of two methods: 1) preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and roast for 8-15 minutes until the scapes are starting to brown on the edges (this is where I want wrong, by the way: I walked away from the oven, and they got quite crispy. They were still a hit at the farmhouse, though, where we’re always looking for potato chip alternatives.) or 2) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and roast for 25-25 minutes, until tender. Either way, roasting the scapes makes them mild and delectable enough to stand alone as a vegetable side dist with dinner. Plus, they look fancy enough to serve to company.

On Wednesday, Kayla broke out the Cuisinart and served up a garlic scape pesto with whole wheat pasta. She  felt that the pesto was too pungent in its raw state and sauteed it briefly before tossing it with the pasta. Whatever, she did, I have to tell you, it was freaking delicious. You can find a basic recipe here, but if you want to cook the pesto at all, I recommend cooking it before adding in the Parmesan and lemon. Whichever culinary path you decide to take, the end result is pretty versatile and could conceivably go well on any meal that you have often and would like to change up a bit: steak, grilled fish, pastas, roasted vegetables, omelets, sandwiches, or even just crackers.

And, finally, on one very hungry Thursday night, Theresa sauteed up all of the veggies below with an 8 oz package of soba noodles and this peanut sauce (though she used chunky peanut butter instead of smooth). The garlic scapes played well off of the creaminess of the peanut and sesame sauce. And, I’d bet that the rich creamy peanut sauce might be able to convince some of the pickier eaters you may know to have a few extra vegetables at dinner. On an only slightly related side-note, this is how many vegetables three of us can eat for one dinner alone.

Cooks out there, did you have any scapes this week? We’d love to know what you tried, what worked, what didn’t work. Post your own recipes in the comment section below!

Stay tuned for next week’s installment. At this very moment, our talented cooking farmers are hard at work trying to concoct as many pea recipes as they possibly can to give your dinners next week a little inspiration.

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1 comment
  1. abbyferla said:

    More superb recipes from friend-of-the-farm Nancy Taylor Robson:

    One of the bonuses of hardneck garlic is the scape, which when cooked tastes like
    a marriage of chive, garlic and scallion. It’s good chopped, sautéed in butter or olive oil,
    and thrown into an omelet, or added to stir-fry. You can cook it in tempura or steam it
    like asparagus and dip it for an hors d’oeuvre in a little aioli or curry mustard and mayo.
    Or you can wrap the grilled or sautéed scapes in filo for an impressive accompaniment to
    cocktails. You can even make cream of scape soup – sauté lightly with chopped scallion
    in a little butter and add it to some herby chicken stock using either a dollop of whipping
    cream or yogurt mixed with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch to add a thick-ish creaminess.
    (This is good chilled too).
    But scapes are truly superb when lightly oiled and grilled. Have it with fish or
    steak (we did it with marinated grilled Canada goose one Sunday).

    Grilled Scapes

    Gently salt and pepper then drizzle with the raw scapes with olive oil. Rub your hands
    through them to cover them with the oil, and put them on the grill – preferably on one
    of those metal vegetable mats so they don’t fall through. It only takes a few minutes, so
    stand by, watch and take them back off into the bowl you had them in as each is done.
    They are a great addition to a sandwich of baguette stuffed with grilled vegetables and
    topped with a thick slathering of goat cheese mixed with fresh basil.

    Grilled Scape Fritatta with Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes

    6 eggs
    5 grilled garlic scapes (or 5 fresh scapes,) chopped into 1-inch piece
    10 cherry tomatoes any variety, or a mix
    1 cup feta cheese
    ¼ cup cilantro/lemon basil/lime basil or parsley, finely chopped
    ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
    2 Tblsp olive or vegetable oil
    2 tsp paprika, either sweet or smoked
    salt, pepper

    Preheat oven to 325F. Oil, butter or otherwise prepare a quiche pan or pie plate for
    baking. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. If using leftover grilled scapes, chop and set them
    aside. Heat the oil in a skillet. If using fresh scapes, chop into 1-inch pieces and sauté for
    about 2 minutes before adding anything to the pan. When scapes are beginning to look a
    little lighter in color and slightly cooked, add the onion and tomatoes. Cook for about 5
    minutes or until tomatoes begin to render their juices and start to wilt. Meanwhile, whisk
    the eggs in a deep bowl (so you don’t slop them over the lip the way we do sometimes)
    until lemony. Add salt, pepper, paprika and herbs. Scoop the vegetables out of the pan,
    leaving the juices. You can cool the rendered juices slightly and carefully (slowly so
    you don’t scramble the eggs) add them to the eggs for extra flavor if there’s not more
    than about a tablespoon. More than that, and the frittata will not set well. Spread the
    vegetables over the bottom of the quiche or pie pan. Gently pour the eggs around the
    vegetables. Top with crumbled feta cheese and bake for about 40-50 minutes. When the

    top is puffed and just beginning to brown, it will be done.

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