Garlic Scape Pesto

Who knew you could make pesto with garlic scapes? With almost 3lbs left from this week’s CSA share, this seemed like the perfect project for a Wednesday night.

Yea, I know I posted a photo of these yesterday, but they are just too cool looking not to post again. 

Recipe from Dorie Greenspan:

GARLIC SCAPE AND ALMOND PESTO

Makes about 1 cup

10 garlic scapes, finely chopped

1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)

1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you’d like)

About 1/2 cup olive oil

Sea salt

Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle).  Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese.  If you like the texture, stop; if you’d like it a little thinner, add some more oil.  Season with salt.

If you’re not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juiciest.

I used cashews and walnuts in place of the almonds and it seemed to work out just fine. The taste is surprisingly complex, and delicious. It definitely has that sharp garlic kick to it, but should mellow out when heated in a meal. 

Cooking our way through a CSA Share

Over the next few months, we’ll be getting a weekly share from one of our local CSAs (Thorpe’s Organic Family Farm), and are looking forward to getting a weekly supply of certified organic, local and sometimes not-so-common produce straight from the farm. One of the most exciting things about this is that we get challenged to cook with ingredients that we normally might not purchase, or even find at the grocery store or farmers markets.

For example, this past week - we got Green Garlic. Green Garlic? We really had no clue, but after a little research, I came upon a delicious sounding soup from Orangette, and just had to make it.

Green Garlic is apparently just very young garlic before the bulb has formed, and looks like a large green onion, and can be used almost the same way. It has a sharp garlic smell and flavor, which mellows out and sweetens when cooked.

Spinach and Green Garlic Soup from Orangette

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
½ to ¾ lb. green garlic, thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
Salt
1 qt. vegetable or mild chicken broth
8 to 10 oz. baby spinach leaves
1 Tbsp. crème fraîche

Warm the olive oil and butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the green garlic and a pinch of salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until it is soft and translucent. Also, as the garlic cooks, you should notice that its scent changes from raw and sharp to sweeter and more mellow; that’s what you’re after. When the garlic is ready, add the stock, raise the heat a bit, and bring it to a boil. Then adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, and continue to cook for about 15 minutes. Add the spinach, and immediately turn off the stove. Let it sit for 5 minutes – not too long, or the spinach will lose its color – and then, working in batches, purée the mixture in a blender. (Remember never to fill the blender more than a quarter or a third full, because the hot liquid will expand when you turn on the motor.) The soup should be a rich shade of green and very smooth

Return the soup to the pot, and place it over low heat to rewarm gently. Add 1 Tbsp. crème fraîche and another pinch or two of salt. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Serve warm or hot, with a drizzle of olive oil or a dollop of crème fraîche, if you like.

We highly recommend this soup - it was delicious, and Jillian tells me it’s one of her favorites now, especially with a dollop of homemade Crème Fraîche.