This week, my CSA also showed up with garlic scapes. For those not familiar with what is a scape, it is the flower stem of the garlic. Remember, garlic is a bulb that grows in the soil and out of it will be produced a stem and eventually a flower … just like other bulbous members of the allium family like onions and chives. However, most often this “by product” is lost and rarely do we see it available. My CSA provider, Waratah Downs Farm, recommended that it’s customers try making a pesto with it … and since I love pesto, I decided to make this part of my CSA challenge. You’ll note my pesto has a few unique variations to it: walnuts (I wanted something that would stand up stronger than pinenuts to the scapes), Meyer lemon peel (added with the intention that this will be paired with fish), limited basil (to let the scapes be most present), and no cheese (to avoid burning on the grill).
As mentioned, I prepared this pesto with the intention of using it on fish. Other serving suggestions would be on pasta or as a light spread on a toasted/broiled Italian bread. If you’re putting it these other contexts, you might want to reduce/omit the salt and instead add a half-cup of grated parmigiano-reggiano.
Finally, I suggest you freeze the extra pesto you don’t use in either mini ziplock baggies/containers or, as others suggest, in ice cube trays. When ready to use, simply take it out of the freezer and peel the frozen pesto into a bowl, and let defrost in the fridge for about an hour … and voila, spring arrives again.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: N/A
Total time: 10 minutes
(*freeze extra servings)
Garlic Scape-Walnut Pesto
- 2½ ounces (70g) of garlic scapes (about 8 large scapes)
- 1/3 cup of untoasted walnuts
- 1/4 of a Meyer lemon skin (or approximately 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest)
- 1 tablespoon Meyer lemon juice
- 1/4 cup of fresh basil (approximately 2-3 large sprigs)
- 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
To prepare the pesto:
- Chop the scapes into 2-inch pieces and place in food processor.
- Cut the lemon in half and squeeze 1 tablespoon of juice, and place in food processor — then cut the juiced half the lemon in half (i.e. a quarter of the whole lemon), and ‘fillet’ out the lemon skin, being careful to remove all of the white pith and then finely mince the skin and place in the food processor.
- Add walnuts, basil, salt and pepper to the food processor.
- Pulse until all ingredients are finely chopped or until food processor stops cutting, whichever happens first.
- Then begin to drizzle in the olive oil until a slightly granular paste is formed — don’t add more oil than necessary.
- Taste for seasoning (salt and pepper) and then scoop it out and set aside.
Serving suggestions: Serve with Grilled Halibut and Garlic Scape-Walnut Pesto (recipe to follow).