There are different things you can do with garlic scapes, and since hubs said he was bringing home lamb chops, I thought why not make some pesto? I have a lot of fresh basil that also needs to be used, so this was a perfect pairing.
Here is a good recipe. I used about 7-8 scapes, which yielded about a quarter cup. I used the entire scape, chopping them into manageable pieces. I buzzed it on high in my food processor, but my food processor doesn’t seem to do a great job at such a small amount, even in the small bowl. Anyway, I continued to pulse, scrape down, pulse, etc until it was as good as I thought it would get. I had toasted 1/8 cup of pine nuts. You can use sunflower seeds if that’s what you have, or any other type of nut. I added in the toasted nut to my processed scapes and added 1/8 cup of EVOO. I started pulsing again. The nuts pulverized no problem, but I still had large pieces of garlic scapes.
Out came the mortar and pestle. I added some course flakes of sea salt, transferred the contents of my pesto into my pestle and began the process of manually mashing everything together. I suppose I could have continued the rest of the process here, but I decided it would be better to transfer everything back into the food processor. I added in 1/8 cup of grated fresh Parmigiano, 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves (whole), and the juice of half a lime (I didn’t have any lemons on hand). Whiz on high. Again, it was a stop-and-scrape-down job in order to get the basil chopped.
During the process, the aroma was amazing! And I’m so glad I used lime juice as it added this nice, summery flavour that wasn’t as sharp as a lemon juice. I should add that after I had cut up my scapes, I placed them in a colander and slowly poured boiling water over the scapes. This was to mellow out the bite a little bit. I also should have added more salt, but overall, I was happy with the outcome. When hubs came home, I told him he had to smell the pesto. His response was that he could smell it as soon as he opened the door.
I don’t think that was a compliment. Turns out, hubs doesn’t like pesto in general (news to me!). Had I known this, I would have used the scapes differently, maybe roasting them. Apparently they are similar to garlicky green beans. He says his main problem with pesto is that he doesn’t like basil (though I throw lots of fresh basil into my tomato salads, and that is fine). Maybe next time I make pesto I can try using arugula instead of basil.
What things can you do with pesto? I was thinking pasta, pizza, or sourdough pesto bread. It’s important to understand how to correctly incorporate pesto into your pasta, and I found this Serious Eats article to be very useful.