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Scape: The Other Side of Garlic

When browsing the farmers market, I'm drawn to things I don't recognize. The minute I saw these beauties, I stopped to learn what they were. Called scapes, these vegetables are flowering stalks of still-developing garlic.

Only certain varieties of garlic produce these delicate shoots. They are similar to the stems you find on leeks, scallions, and chives. When young, scapes are tender and have similar properties to green onions; when scapes mature, their stems grow too woody to eat, but they develop edible seed pods. To learn how I experimented with scapes in the kitchen,


To get a true sense of their flavor, I decided to use the seed pods to make a deconstructed garlic bread. Here's how to recreate the dish in your kitchen:

  1. Remove the woody stemmed pods from the papery bulbs. Leave the edible, purple skin around the pods.
  2. Sauté the seeds on medium-low heat in extra-virgin olive oil and butter for about 20 minutes until they are soft and fragrant.
  3. Pour the mixture over freshly baked French bread and enjoy immediately!

This different take on garlic bread was delicious: the flavor is decidedly garlicky, but it's much milder than the common garlic clove. Here are some other unconventional ideas for enjoying garlic scapes:

  • Substitute the usual garlic clove for the scape pods in a stir-fry.
  • Use garlic scapes and scallions in a frittata.
  • Make pesto with garlic scapes.
  • Replace garlic cloves with the same amount of scape pods for a milder garlic soup.

Have you experimented with scapes or their seed pods? What did you think of them?

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mymaria mymaria 8 years
Thanks for the post. I ended up buying these this weekend because I saw this post and they were delicious. I sauted them and then added green beans to the pan from the market. I will buy these more often :)
godeats godeats 8 years
I like them when they are young and tender and the bulbs are smaller than a marble (unlike the above photo). I use them in place of onion as a more flavorful option. A little oil and scapes make a wonderful addition to sauteed vegetables. They also make a good dip or sauce when combined with yogurt/sour cream/cream cheese/creme fraiche, are delicious in hummus and scrambled eggs, potato salad and deviled eggs and well pretty much anywhere you put them.
HipMom HipMom 8 years
That's really interesting! I love garlic. I'll look for these next time I'm at the market!
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