Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Garlic scape season is here!
But it's garlic scape season, and I was worried she might accidentally snip too much (perhaps cutting off the leaves and thus harming the developing bulb) or too little (wasting the single, delicious scape each plant produces) without me there to guide her. (I swear I am not a control freak.) "Once you snip one or two," I told my students at Drew-Freeman last Monday as I demonstrated harvesting garlic scapes that were fated to end up in some delicious, spicy salad dressing during our final class/celebration/harvest, "you'll get the hang of it." And they did.
Actually, some of the teachers who helped out all year will be tasting some of the fruits of our garlicky labors tomorrow, when I bring them small jars of pesto made with the remaining Drew-Freeman scapes and some greens from my own little garden plot out back. No basil, though, thanks to some nefarious rodent that took a liking to the leaves of my little baby basil transplants in the garden. Bah. Who says pesto needs to be made with basil, anyway? I laugh in the face of culinary convention, and boldly claim here -- right in black and white (or whatever this font shows up as in your browser) -- that you can make pesto in near endless variations. And I did.This is a little more adventurous than the admittedly-perhaps-already-adventurous swiss chard pesto I posted here awhile back.
"Whatever's Around" Pesto
Combine in a food processor and blend together:
1. something garlicky: a few cloves of garlic (peeled) or a handful of garlic scapes
2. something leafy and green: a few cups of fresh basil, spinach, swiss chard, parsley -- go nuts!
(Speaking of nuts....)
3. a handful of some kind of nut: walnuts, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, pine nuts
4. a couple glugs of olive oil (or, heck, you can try other oils if you like)
5. a handful of shaved or grated salty cheese: parmesan, pecorino, asiago (or omit, to make it vegan)
6. a pinch of salt
The possibilities are almost endless! And so are pesto's uses! Toss some in with cooked pasta, slathered on a grilled cheese sandwich, mixed into salad dressing for a pasta salad, as a marinade for chicken or fish.... Lord, I love pesto.
I did draw the line when my friend and colleague, Jessica, suggested a peanut and kale pesto, but I am glad that she disregarded my recommendation to abandon the idea because I later learned her family LOVED it. (See? I can admit when I'm not right. It doesn't happen often, though.) ;)