Garlic scape and pecan pesto

“You can never have enough garlic. With enough garlic, you can eat the New York Times,” – Morley Safer. 

Yaaas, Morley. Garlic is the seasoning of champions and it’s something I absolutely cannot live without. 

I love garlic bread (garlic fingers for all of my Maritimers), vats of caesar salad, pure roasted garlic spread with olive oil on fresh bread. Give it all to me. 

I was thrilled a few summers back to discover a new way to eat garlic – the scape. It is the flower of the garlic plant, plucked before it is allowed to fully mature. 

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Picture, if you will, the taste of the garlickiest thing you’ve ever tasted. Then, turn that thing up to ten. That’s a garlic scape. This beautiful, curly tendrils of green goodness are not for the faint-hearted. They pack a mean garlic punch. 

One Saturday morning, a few weeks back, I told C. I wanted to walk the five kilometres to my favourite Montreal market – Marche Jean-Talon – in Little Italy. I wanted to pick up ingredients for supper with no plan in mind. I wanted to soak up the market and get inspired there, especially with all of the phenomenal harvest veggies in season this time of year. 

I had almost forgotten about garlic scapes when I saw a few of them twirling around themselves at a market stall. They were the inspiration for an Italian-style feast of prosciutto wrapped, pesto marinated chicken breast, caprese salad, green beans and some rustic bread with a garlic scape pesto butter. 

I’m not afraid to say I was super proud of this meal. It was a feat and a feast, all in one. 

One bunch of garlic scapes made for a big batch, large enough to infuse my butter, marinate my chicken, freeze a tupperware full and give some to a friend. She offered me some great advice, because the pesto is a bit bitter, she cut the flavour with some lemon juice atop zucchini noodles. I definitely recommend eating it as part of something, either mixed with butter as a bread topper, blended into an alfredo sauce or seasoning for your meat of choice.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1bunch garlic scapes
  • cup Italian cheese (I used a provolone, mozzarella, parmesan blend)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup toasted pecans
  • Salt (to taste)

Directions

  1. Wash and prepare your garlic scapes by cutting off the thicker ends.
  2. Add them to a high-power blender or food processor with water and oil.
  3. Blend until ingredients form a light green paste, then add cheese, pecans and salt, tasting as you go to ensure you don’t add too much.
  4. Store pesto in an airtight container in your fridge. It should keep for up to four days, or longer in the freezer.

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