This is the latest episode in an ongoing series of postings featuring cool products grown or produced here on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. If you have something you think we should know about or know someone who does, send them our way.
The relationship between Coast Culinary Collective and our local Potters Black Garlic is not one of nepotism. If you’re wondering why they’re on feature again, no they aren’t relatives nor are they greasing CCC’s wheels . No flights to sunny(er) climes were offered and I wouldn’t get on a plane for anything in the current situation regardless! Rather the story picks up again courtesy of the ongoing production of their crops. Having had no real experience with scapes before, I was keen to try them out when Potters posted their upcoming availability. As I’ve mentioned before, the bounty of cool stuff growing or being produced here on the Sunshine Coast is amazing. Prior to moving here I had no idea as to what was happening in the area nor of the agricultural history of the region. Within the time I’ve been in Gibsons, I’ve met some other “urban ex-pats” who’ve come here to try something different and are doing so with a lot of passion and drive. Let’s of course not forget others who have been here for much longer. They knew a good thing when they saw it. Or maybe they just couldn’t cope with the ferries any longer…
Garlic and Garlic Scapes; some background.
Garlic: (as per Wiki) a species in the onion genus, Allium. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and Chinese onion. It is native to Central Asia and northeastern Iran.
Garlic Scapes: the tender stem and flower bud of a hardneck garlic plant. Scapes first grow straight out of the garlic bulb, then coil. When harvested, they look like long, curly green beans.
In my first summer of living on the coast, I planted bulbs in my veggie beds (see previous post “Welcome to the Jungle…) and came to the conclusion growing garlic wasn’t for me. I love the stuff, use it almost daily but it’s a commitment. 9 months to grow and a sizable chunk of my beds. Much like when I took a class for baking bread, I quickly came to the conclusion “I’ll leave it for people who enjoy the process and buy it from them instead”. My pleasure has come from procuring the ingredients and trying to make the most I can of them in the kitchen. They can be pickled, fried then added to omelettes like green onions, brushed with olive oil and dusted with salt and pepper then grilled, made into pestos and many other options. Here are a few results…
Garlic Scape Chutney
This was adapted from a recipe by “Feasting at Home” where they used the chutney as a filling for naan bread. I see this as much more of a pesto and spread it over flatbread with sausage and mozzarella for an easy pizza.
- 3/4 cup chopped garlic scapes
- 1/2 cup fresh mint packed
- 1/2 cup roasted almonds
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 jalapeño or Serrano pepper- for a little kick (optional)
- 1 T lime juice
- 1/3 C olive
Place all the ingredients into a food processor with the exception of the oil. Puree adding the oil slowly (you can increaase the amount to achieve your preferred consistency) and run the processor until you have a grainy paste.
Garlic Scape Gazpacho
This was adapted from a recipe by “Veggie Obsession”. Part of the motivation for making this was I’ve lost control of the greens in my garden and I’m seeking as many ways to use them before the machete comes out.
- 1 Cup dry bread cubes
- 1 1/2 Cup chilled water (plus more for soaking the bread)
- 1 Cup almonds
- 1/2 tsp salt (I doubled that)
- 1/4 Cup olive oil (I added a bit more)
- 2 Cup chopped lettuce leaves
- 2 Cup chopped spinach
- 1 medium cucumber, peeled and chopped
- 4 chopped garlic scapes
- 2 tbsp any combination of fresh herbs such as parsley, tarragon, thyme, dill, rosemary, mint, chervil, lovage, basil or cilantro. (I used tarragon, basil and mint)
- 2 tbsp sherry vinegar (I doubled this after tasting. Personal preference)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Soak the bread in just enough water to cover. After 5 to 10 minutes, when it is soft, drain and squeeze out most of the water. Combine with almonds, garlic, salt, and 1 cup chilled water in a food processor or blender. Puree until a smooth paste is formed, then drizzle in the olive oil until emulsified. Transfer to a bowl, then add the vegetables and herbs to the food processor or blender. Puree with an additional 1/2 cup of chilled water. Whisk this puree, along with the vinegar, into the bread mixture. Add pepper and additional salt and vinegar as needed. If you like your gazpacho silky smooth, puree it once more in a blender at top speed. Chill thoroughly. Serve with garnish of fresh herbs or blanched garlic scapes. Serves 8.
Roasted Garlic Scape Soup
This comes from SIMPLE COMFORT FOOD by Dax Phillips. He makes a point that this has cooler weather written over it but the scapes are here now. That said, this month on the Coast it’s “Junuary” so maybe not so inappropriate afterall. The only thing I changed is I roasted the veg on my gas grill. Wasn’t in the mood to fire up coals.
- 1 bunch of garlic scapes (let’s call that a pound)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- generous pinch of salt, and more to taste
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 3 small to medium sized shallots
- 4 cups of chicken stock
- 1 whole russet potato, peeled, cut into cubes
- 1/4 cup of half and half
- pinch of red chili flakes
- 1/2 tbsp cracked black pepper
- 1 sprig of fresh thyme, stem removed
Pre-heat the grill.
Leaving the skins on the shallots and garlic, brush them and the scapes with olive oil and sprinkle with salt then place them on the grill. allow to cook until they begin to show char marks. Set aside and remove the skins from the garlic and shallots once cooled and chop the scapes.
In a pot, pour in chicken stock and add potatoes, scapes, garlic and shallots and simmer until the potatoes are fork tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once it has, pour everything into a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the stove and at moderate heat, add pepper, thyme and chili flakes and cream. Taste for seasoning and adjust as you like. Garnish with chopped parsley or green onions if so inclined.
Garlic Scape Vinegar
This final one comes from The Garlic Box and is about as easy as you could possibly get. A great option for vinaigrettes for salad.
- Fresh Whole Garlic Scapes – 1-2, cut to fit your bottle, add more garlic scapes for more flavor
- Light Vinegar – 1 cup, white , red or rice vinegar
- Glass Container – non-metal cap or cover (mason jar style bottle)
- Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil, Mint – handful of your favorite herbs
- Sterilize the bottle and cap, either by simmering in hot water on the stove for 10 minutes or washing in the dishwasher right before using. Allow container and cap to dry thoroughly.
- Wash garlic scapes and dry completely. Cut into lengths that will allow the scape to be completely submerged below the level of the vinegar. Any exposed piece of scape not in the vinegar will start to deteriorate and rot.
- Gently bruise the scapes, by rolling over slightly with a rolling pin, to release a bit more flavor.
- Place the scape pieces in the sterilized container and cover completely with vinegar. Add your choice of herbs. Cover with lid, cap or cork.
- Store in the refrigerator, or other cool, dark place. The following day, check the level of the vinegar and add more if the level has dropped at all. It is possible that the scapes will absorb some overnight.
- Allow to infuse for 10 days to 2 weeks, in a cool, dark place. Strain out original garlic scape pieces, if desired, and replace with fresh ones (if available), primarily for decoration. Will keep for 2-4 months.
- Keep vinegar bottle out of sunlight or it will become cloudy.
- The acid in the vinegar acts as an inhibitor for bacteria growth, but certainly keep an eye out for changes in color, an off smell, or cloudiness in the bottle and discard if there is a question. Storing the vinegar in the refrigerator, particularly in the summer months, is the safest.