Finally, for the first time, my husband and I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). I’ve known about them for ages. Each summer I’ve wanted so badly to join, but have always had something impeding my ability (moves, internships in other states, jobs in other states, research in other countries). The concept is simple. You pay a local farm a fee at the beginning of the season and you receive a share of produce each week. Our CSA is located in Asbury, NJ and called Asbury Village Farm. It’s quite a hike from our current location, but we are moving (again) in a few weeks to Easton, PA where it will just be a quick trip across the New Jersey border. In addition to our weekly allotment of produce, there are also unlimited tomatoes come summer, along with pick your own flowers. Asbury Village Farm also provides a print out with recipe ideas each week. Who could want anything more? I am just happy as a clam about this whole thing.
And I’m already just thrilled because this week’s harvest included something I’ve never tried before: Garlic scapes! What on earth are garlic scapes? They are the edible stalks that shoot out of garlic bulbs. The CSA recommended them either roasted or puréed into pesto.
I opted for the pesto route, but decided to tweak the recipe to include cheese and a little bit of basil. Basil wasn’t included in this week’s share (although dill was!) but I decided to find some at the market. If it’s not basil season or you can’t find any, you can omit it or try a little bit of cilantro.
Garlic scapes taste like garlic but are slightly less pungent. They are also fibrous and thus take some chopping in either the blender or the food processor. I found their taste to be bright and fresh, and they gave the pesto a familiar, yet unique taste. Honestly, I don’t really want that normal heavy, oily, pesto again.
Some recipes omit the cheese, others substitute walnuts or pistachios for the pignolia. I just prefer my pesto the classic way. It has a creamier taste and lighter texture.
Garlic Scape Pesto
(Recipe adapted from Asbury Village Farm)
- 10 garlic scapes, chopped into thick chunks
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/3 cup pecorino romano, finely grated
- 1/3 cup pignolia nuts
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 springs basil, stems removed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the roughly chopped garlic scapes into a blender or food processor. Pulse a few times until the scapes are chopped into smaller pieces. Scrape down sides and pulse a little bit longer.
- Add lemon juice and continue to pulse. Slowly add olive oil as mixture blends.
- Turn off blender and add the pecorino romano and pignoli. Continue to pulse and scrape down sides until mixture becomes creamy and more liquified.
- Add basil, salt and pepper and purée until smooth.
Makes approximately 4 cups. Serve a dollop or two tossed with fresh pasta and garnished with cheese.
I used fresh spinach fettucini and served the pasta with a slice of tomato focaccia from our favorite local bakery, Alice Bakery & Confectionary in North Wales, PA.