Garlic Scape Pesto

I have long heard about the wonder of garlic scapes, but had never actually seen them before.  Not usually sold in grocery stores, nor in the big but run-of-the-mill farmer’s market of my rather provincial hometown, scapes are the green tops of garlic.  They are harvested once a year to give the bulb of the garlic a chance to develop, and contain the flavor of garlic without the extreme bite.  So of course, when I saw some at my local market in my new city, I had to buy some.


But what to do with scapes?  I did not have a recipe or even a vague idea in mind, I just knew I had to have them.

Turns out, there is one clear answer:  make pesto.

Basil pesto is, to me, the quintessential summer dish.  Nothing else conjures the sensation of summer quite like it.  I’d never really ventured out into other forms of this classic sauce, because I love it so much.  But after all, the word pesto simply means to pound or to crush, and can describe any kind of sauce made in the same manner.  And I have to say this one really does rival basil pesto in deliciousness.

Please feel free to experiment with the amounts!  If you really like cheese…by all means add more!


2 cups chopped garlic scapes
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan or pecorino or both
1 Tablespoon sunflower seeds or pine nuts
Salt and pepper to taste
A Lot of olive oil

Blend the seeds/nuts in a food processor.  Add the scapes and blend.  Begin gradually adding olive oil until you like the consistency.  Blend in the cheese.  Add salt and pepper to taste.




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