The spiraling stems that shoot out of garlic bulbs in the spring and early summer aren’t just eye-catching – they’re delectable. The looping green scapes possess a flavor more reminiscent of scallions or chives than root vegetable’s own cloves, making it a unique accent element. Here are seven scrumptious garlic scape dishes sure to win you over.
Alden & Harlow, Cambridge, Massachusetts
An oval of griddled halloumi takes center stage. Puffed barley, smoked Muscat grapes, and garlic scape oil have key supporting roles. It all adds up to one heck of a show. Make a reservation at Alden & Harlow.
Proof, Washington, D.C.
This dish has been an enduring classic at the restaurant. To add extra umami, black cod is marinated in miso. It is complemented with garlic scapes, baby bok choi, and dashi-braise shiitake mushrooms. Make a reservation at Proof.
Union, Pasadena, California
Celebrate the season. Knuckles of gnocchi enriched with plenty of ricotta are tossed with roasted garlic scapes, morels, and whey sauce. Simple and simply delicious. Make a reservation at Union.
Equinox, Washington, D.C.
Humble potato gnocchi are the star of this dish. It’s a town and country proposition. Garlic scapes and asparagus showcase the garden, while fiddlehead ferns and foraged mushrooms add a taste of the wild. Make a reservation at Equinox.
Oak + Rowan, Boston, Massachusetts
The pesto here is non-traditional, forged with garlic scapes, sunflower seeds, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and lemon zest. It’s lavished on a tangle of tagliatelle. A few grilled scapes and plenty of Parmesan finish off the fetching proposition. Make a reservation at Oak + Rowan.
Ardeo + Bardeo, Washington, D.C.
Not your average hummus. This one is made with garlic scapes and green garbanzos, so it has a verdant hue. Triangles of freshly baked naan are arranged on the side for dipping. Make a reservation at Ardeo + Bardeo.
Dino’s Grotto, Washington, D.C.
When an order of ramps didn’t come in, chef-owner Dean Gold scrambled to find a replacement to go in his asparagus risotto. After blanching a batch of garlic scapes, he added the brilliant green curls into the mix. It was a winning addition, creating a dish he believes is much more interesting and delicious. Make a reservation at Dino’s Grotto.
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Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.