OK, I’ve wanted to start this blog for a long, long time and have found every excuse in the book to talk myself out of it. But it seems that didn’t work, so here we are, day 1, post 1, of what I hope will be a fun-filled adventure. In this blog, I will be sharing some of my favorite recipes & some short videos to accompany them. I’m thinking of these videos as tiny inspirational vignettes. You may not get A to Z instructions out of them, but my hope is that they will put a smile on your face and make you want to eat / cook / plant something…
I made this pesto while on vacation in Nova Scotia, when the garlic in my parents’ garden is at that magical state where it shoots out those elegant, curly scapes. The ballerinas of the garden. So pretty (and also kind of wild & wacky!) They have so much personality and flavour oozing out of them it’s like they’re speaking to you.
My mom was a little bit famous for her garlic. She skillfully grew many different varieties that kept all year round. Now that she is no longer with us, my stepdad plants it every year and takes great pride in his crop. Where I’m from in Nova Scotia, folks are pretty keen on steamed garlic scapes, in my mind one of summertime's great delights, similar to green beans but more tender and flavorful. But if you're up to your ears in scapes, pesto is just the thing!
Garlic Scape Pesto
A large bunch of scapes (around 3 lbs-ish)
1 to 2 cups of olive oil
¾ cup parmesan
1 cup finely chopped walnuts (or pine nuts, almonds, sunflower seeds…)
salt to taste
I recommend blanching the scapes first – put them in boiling water for 30 seconds (my sister suggested that and it really does improves the color and texture of the pesto). Chop them in the food processor with the olive oil until you’re happy with the consistency. Add more olive oil and salt to taste, as needed. You’ll see in the video, I didn’t put walnuts & parmesan in mine since I like to have the option to put them in later, especially if I'm going to be freezing the batch. And to tell you the truth, the scapes have such a delicious and delicate flavor that they don’t even need the nuts and cheese at all. You can also experiment with throwing some basil, lemon, or actual garlic bulbs in there. The pesto freezes well, my mom used to put hers in icecube trays in the freezer and pop them out whenever she needed them. It's also very versatile! My neighbour Sophie spooned it on some pork chops before throwing them in the oven and it was absolutely delicious. I dumped a large jar on a whole chicken and scattered some vegetables in the pan and it made a tasty (and easy) roast. It’s also a great soup starter, yummy on pasta (of course!) and in sandwiches. The possibilities are endless. And if this is giving you the pesto bug and you’re cursing me because the scapes are gone, just substitute them for: cilantro or arugula or parsley or (of course!) basil... or whatever herbs & greens are in your garden or at your market these days. Try other nuts too… Mmm, tarragon-hazelnut pesto anyone?!