My next door neighbor, Henry, called out to me from his back patio earlier this evening as I was ducking into my apartment. "Come on over for a barbecue!"
What would Memorial Day be without a barbecue? Not a proper American holiday, certainly. But after a weekend spent mostly in Arlington, I was at a loss for something to contribute. And I'll be damned if I show up at a barbecue empty-handed. Luckily, I had some garlic scapes on hand from the farmers' market in my fridge.
You should have seen the odd but intrigued looks I got from Henry and friends when I emerged moments later. "I'm bringing over some garlic scapes," I called over the fence as folks looked down into my garden. "They come from this part of the garlic plant -- just one scape per plant, see, here's one coming up right here on this plant -- and they're something to feast on while the garlic bulbs do their last few weeks of growing underground." I couldn't help myself, they were so curious. (Henry is used to my quirky contributions -- I'd brought along chocolate beet brownies to a cookout on his deck a few years ago. Still, he happily munched on a scape in the bundle as they came off the gas grill minutes later.)
"So you just toss those... scapes... on the grill with a little olive oil? And that's it??" one guy asked. "That's so easy!" It's true, I assured him, as I set to chomping on some corn on the cob.
"Wow, they're done in less than five minutes! And you're right," a woman nearby commented, "They are definitely garlicky, but much milder than regular garlic. Can you eat these raw, too?" You certainly can, I assured her, and continued to field questions as I dug into a bowl of potato salad at the end of the picnic table.
"How come I've never seen those before?" another barbecue guest asked. "I'm going to keep an eye out for them. And you say they are good in pesto...?"
I really just stopped by for a beer and a veggie burger, but can I help it if folks want to learn about seasonal food and cooking in my free time? Ah, I love it. And I suspect some of them will be seeking out these
treasured allium shoots at the farmers' market, since as far as I've
seen they are unavailable at the grocery store....