I look for garlic scapes every year in the farmers markets, and if I’m lucky I’ll find them once or twice in the early summer. This year I keep coming across them, so I’m calling this my summer of garlic scapes! I’ve been eating them almost every week, they are totally delicious. They take about 10 minutes total from prep to table, and despite the simplicity are so flavorful. And of all the vegetables in the world, this is one that my hubby and I both absolutely LOVE (usually we tend to like different kinds of veggies).
Garlic scapes, if you don’t know them, are the leafless flowering stems of the garlic plant. The long stems are serpentine in shape, twisting and curling beautifully, ending in elegant little buds. When I cook them, I feel like I’ve made a work of art. The scapes have a subtle taste of garlic, not an intense overpowering taste – it’s lovely biting into them. Imagine asparagus without the sliminess, and with a soft hint of garlic instead.
The lower part of the stems tend to be tough, similar to asparagus, so I trim the bottoms off before cooking. Because these are naturally so flavorful, my favorite way of eating garlic scapes is to just sauté them in olive oil, and serve them sprinkled with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Adding other ingredients would mask the subtle taste, and would be such a waste of these rare, precious scapes. In order to make the stems tender, I add a spoon or two of water to the pan as I am sauteeing, cover and steam for a few minutes. They’re especially tasty when charred lightly. Look for garlic scapes in farmers markets (unfortunately they don’t seem to be sold in stores ever), and try them. Really truly tasty!
Garlic Scapes Sautéed with Olive Oil, Sea Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper
- 1 bunch garlic scapes, about 12 to 14 stems
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- sea salt to taste (I use coarse mediterranean sea salt)
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Rinse garlic scapes under cold water in a colander. Cut off the hard lower part of the stems. Pat dry.
- Add olive to a flat wide pan over medium high heat, heat for about a minute. Add the garlic scapes, sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sauté for about a minute, flip the scapes over and fry on the other side.
- Add about a teaspoon of water, cover the pan with a fitted lid and let it steam for a few minutes until tender. Lift the lid and check for done-ness. If the scapes are getting too dry but are not tender yet, add another spoon of water, cover and steam.
- When the stems are tender (check with a fork), uncover and fry for another minute. Scapes should be lightly charred, they’re tastier that way. Remove from heat and serve immediately.