Last week at Open Farms, our garden in Belle Plaine, volunteers harvested bunches of garlic scapes, a special June visitor that mystifies CSA shareholders and delights garlic lovers. What are these curly green tendrils appearing on farmers market tables?
Garlic, like leeks and onions and the rest of its relatives in the allium family, grows underground. Farmers plant cloves in the soil during the fall, right after the first major frost, and cover them with mulch. In the springtime, bright green shoots poke up from the hardening bulb -- the garlic scapes! These shoots draw energy away from the bulb, so farmers trim the scapes, which then become an early summer treat for cooks in the know.
Scapes definitely taste garlic-y, but their flavor is much smoother and lighter than full-strength cloves. You can add garlic scapes to stir frys, throw them in egg scrambles, or whiz them into garlic scape pesto. This recipe combines them with white beans to make a simple, creamy dip. Pair it with chips, carrots or celery sticks for your next summer picnic.
White Bean & Garlic Scapes Dip
Adapted from NYTimes.com
(Makes 1 1/2 - 2 cups)
1/3 cup garlic scapes (3 to 4), chopped
2 tbsp. lemon juice, to taste
1/2 tsp. sea salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 can (15 oz.) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1. In a food processor, process garlic scapes with lemon juice, salt and pepper until finely chopped. Add cannellini beans and process to a rough purée.
2. With motor running, slowly drizzle olive oil through feed tube and process until fairly smooth. Pulse in 2 or 3 tablespoons of water, or more, until mixture is the consistency of a dip. Add more salt, pepper and/or lemon juice, if desired.
3. Spread out dip on a plate, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with more salt.