Thursday, 25 July 2013

Scape Pesto

The Farmer’s Market is a wonderful place. You can’t know what you might find. As I posted earlier this week, I made an amazing blackcurrant jam from a market find. I also bought an entire bag of “scapes” which I bought simply because I had never heard of such a thing before.

Have you ever heard of a scape? No? Check out the deal here, but basically they are what happens to your garlic if you let it sit for too long and then you go to use it and there’s that green shoot coming from it and you think to yourself, “Why the heck don’t I just buy the pre-minced jarred garlic?” (because you’re pretentious, and you don’t want the Loblaws checkout guy to judge you, that’s why). Lynn Crawford, who delights me regularly on various food-vision, calls these a “crazy, unusual, powerful, passionate vegetable.” Who wouldn’t want to eat such a thing?

Crawford suggests a pesto, and so did the woman I bought them from at the market. Pesto is absolutely my most favourite sauce by far for pasta, so that suggestion is like music to my ears. The beauty thing about pesto is you can put it on just about anything, and really use a ton of different flavours for it. The basic formula would be:

Large amount of herb(s)+smaller amount of toasted nut+ healthy amount of oil+ sprinkle of cheese

The traditional option is basil, pine nuts, olive oil and Parmesan. With my scapes, I chose scapes and arugula, toasted pine nuts (but you can use almonds), olive oil and parmesan. I use a cheap, imitation, knock-off Magic Bullet, because I don’t have a food processor, so I fill it right up with the greenery (I used equal parts scape and arugula), then add a sprinkling of nuts. The oil amount depends on the consistency that you like for your pesto. I wanted this to be a fairly solid pesto, so I used about a third of a cup. You can always add more. Then a little cheese and whip it all up.

The scapes add an amazing mellow garlic flavour, without having you feel like you need a breath mint after. There are peppery tones from the arugula, and finally a nice earthiness from the nuts. It was delicious. I put it on a risotto with some roasted beets. I also stuffed a chicken breast with it and grilled that up for my dining companion. (He doesn’t dig on beets.) It was just great.

Scapes, according to the handout I was given, also make a great green bean replacement. Call me a lush, but when I think of green beans, you know what I think of? Those amazing spicy pickled beans that come with a delicious Caesar (Bloody Mary to you non-Canadians). Blog to come on that soon! Visit your local farmer’s Market soon though if you want to try these- the season ends in just a week or two!

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