Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto: Garlic Scapes are the wild and curly shoots that spring from the tops of garlic plants.  They’re brilliantly green and grow corkscrewed.

Garlic Scape Pesto
They’ve got a mild garlic fragrance and a mellow garlic flavor. It’s got a freshness that garlic loses as it develops. The scapes, which look as beautiful in the garden as they do at the market, are meant to be cut  – cutting them strengthens the garlic bulbs that are growing underground – so it’s a win-win for the garlic and us. We use the scapes as a garnish – just pour some olive oil on them, grill them until their crisp/limp and then lightly salt them.  Saturday night we made scape pesto which we served on pan seared crab cakes. Last night Gayle and I used the rest of the scape pesto on pasta.

 Scapes are fleeting, their only available about 10 days each year. Here’s my recipe for Scape Pesto:


Makes about 1 cup

10 garlic scapes, finely chopped

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan Reggiano

1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (for a variation use black walnuts)

6 Basil leaves

About 1/2 cup olive oil

Sea salt

Squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice

Put the scapes, cheese, pine nuts, Basil 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.  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.

Garlic Scape Pesto