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Archive for June 20th, 2008

NY Times article on Garlic

Appropriately enough, there was a NYTimes article all about the different types of garlic that are around – including our friend the garlic scape. Here are a couple of excerpts from the article:

Their graceful form gives few clues about their function. Garlic scapes are pencil thin and exuberantly loopy, and emanate a clean and mildly garlicky scent. At the top of each is a tightly closed but bulging bud. I contemplated sticking them in a vase with the peonies, but ultimately realized I’d rather eat them.

Since my cookbook indexes came up empty in a search for scapes, I called my dad for advice. “Garlic scapes?” he said. “Do you mean green garlic?”

He was referring to the tender crop of garlic that also appears in the market in spring, bulbs still attached to their green floppy tops. Having become addicted to their juiciness and musky sweetness, I always make a point to buy plenty when I see them.

But no, I told him, scapes look like curlicue tulip stems.

At the time he didn’t know how to cook them either, so I decided to wing it.

Since the scapes reminded me of extra-long green beans, I treated them as such, cutting them into two-inch lengths, blanching them and tossing them with a lemony vinaigrette.

They had a gently spicy undertone and an exquisitely fresh green, mellow taste. Unlike regular garlic, which needs some kind of vehicle to carry its intense flavor to the mouth, scapes are self-sufficient; vegetable and aromatic all in one. Ever since that first batch, I gleefully buy scapes whenever I can, using them in salads, soups and pesto.

Although they’ve been gaining a following over the last few years, he [Bill Maxwell, of Maxwell Farms in Changewater, N.J.] said, scapes came to market “when someone figured out they could make money from something they were cutting off the garlic plant and getting rid of.”

Peter Hoffman, the chef at Savoy, added, “At some point someone realized the scapes were tender and delicious.” He suggested that I sauté them with other vegetables or soft-shell crabs, or even grill them whole to show off their curves.

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