Don’t you just love it when you discover something new!
I’ve been growing garlic, successfully, for a few years now, and still I’m learning…
I’ve realised that I now grow both hard neck and soft neck garlic, I don’t know the type though, as I’ve purchased the originals from farmer’s markets and providors. How I know that I have hard neck and soft neck garlic, is that the hard neck garlic sends up a long solid green stalk with a bud on the top called a scape. Initially I used to leave these in place, allowing them to flower, and then, in turn, produce small bulbils. I loved this idea, and often gifted people the little bulbils, telling them they would need a couple of years before they were of a size to produce garlic as we know it. Then I discovered that scapes could be used in the kitchen – really?
Being a little milder than garlic cloves, people were making pesto, pickling them to be added to salads and grazing boards, even adding them to quiches – who would have thought, hey! Then, because I’m always researching, I discovered that if you removed the scapes from the garlic, the garlic bulb could potentially be larger when harvested.
So with all of this new knowledge, there was no question, the scapes were to be removed – the bigger the garlic bulbs the better with the bonus of something new to play with in the kitchen! More research… When and how to best remove the scapes? I removed the scapes when they were about 25 – 30 cm (10 – 12 inches) long, cutting them off just above the top leaves. Next problem, well not really a problem… but what was I going to do with them once they were in the kitchen! Do I pickle? Do I pesto? No, I make pasta!
I decided to make a batch of gluten free pasta and do a Smoked Trout and Garlic Scape Tagliatelle, it was quite delicious. Gary is not, and I mean not, a fan of pasta, but he doesn’t mind my homemade gluten free version, and I was amazed when I saw that there was nothing left on the plate – so mustn’t have been too bad at all.
- 4 litres water
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic scapes, cut into ½ cm / ¼ inch pieces (see note #1)
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (see note #2)
- 1 smoked rainbow trout, flesh only (bones, head and skin removed and discarded)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 500 g good-quality fresh tagliatelle, or 375g dried (see note #3)
- 2 tbsp chopped dill or fennel tops, plus extra to serve
- lemon zest to serve
Bring water and salt to a boil.
Combine eggs, the cheese, and pepper in a bowl.
Cook pasta until al denté.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a frying pan, add the garlic scapes and fry slowly over medium heat.
Add the smoked trout to the pan with the scapes, stir to combine and reduce heat to very low, to keep it warm
When the pasta is ready, using tongs, lift it from the water and immediately add to the scapes and smoked trout in the the frying pan.
Take the pan off the heat and quickly pour in the egg and cheese mixture, and using the tongs, lift up the pasta so it mixes easily with the egg mixture and is evenly coated.
Add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water to the pan to make a nice creamy sauce.
Serve immediately with a sprinkling of chopped fennel or dill fronds, finely grated lemon zest and a good grinding of black pepper.
- If garlic scapes are out of season, you can use garlic chives.
- If you cannot get Pecorino Romano cheese you can use Parmigiano-Reggiano.
- This recipe works well with gluten free pasta as well.
- A scattering of thinly julienned apple is also a delicious refreshing garnish for this dish.
- You could also add a wedge of lemon on the side.
The remaining scapes were finely chopped and added to other dishes that could do with a little hit of garlic, including a batch of garden fritters.
I’ve just been reading a post by David Lebovitz where he uses up all the odd pieces of leftover cheese to make, what sounds like, a fabulous tasty cream cheese spread, called Fromage Fort, next year, I must try to make it, but replace the garlic with very thinly sliced garlic scapes. I love reading David’s work, it is interesting, entertaining and generally it’s about life and food in a place that I adore… France, in particular, Paris!
Until next time…
Bon appétit, and if you’re lucky to have one, happy gardening!