Garlic Scape Soup


Garlic scapes are one of the most unusual, yet beautiful, items you’ll find at the farmers’ market. Fleeting, too, as they’re only around for a few short weeks in early summer. They can be used in a variety of ways—in stir-fries, pesto, scrambled eggs, and even replace a utensil in this Grilled Mushroom Satay with Garlic Scape Skewers I made a couple years ago.


With a lovely bunch of scapes on hand, today I decided on soup. A pretty puréed soup full of healthy ingredients and mild garlic flavor. Potatoes give it body and some fresh spinach helps keep the vibrant green color, although the addition of the milk dilutes it a bit. Garnished with fresh thyme from my herb garden and a sprinkling of pistachios to maintain the green color scheme, we had a light, but delicious lunch.

Originally thinking this would need to go through a fine mesh sieve after puréeing, it didn’t. I discarded the thicker last few inches of each scape and this resulted in no fibrous pieces remaining after pureeing. Was it smooth as silk? No, but darn close. Enjoy!

Garlic Scape Soup

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt

Garlic scapes, cut into 2 inch pieces, to measure 2 cups (cut off the end from the flower bulb on up and if the other ends seem fibrous, cut off a few inches there as well)

½ a large yellow onion, chopped

1 medium to large russet potato, peeled and cut into ½ inch dice

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish

A couple handfuls of fresh spinach leaves

4 cups good quality vegetable broth/stock (homemade is ideal)

1 cup milk of choice (whole, low-fat, cream, almond, evaporated, etc.)

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or fresh-squeezed lemon juice

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Chopped pistachios for garnish

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a stockpot or Dutch oven. When oil is hot, add scapes and onion, sprinkling with a little salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until scapes and onions are tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in potato, thyme leaves, and spinach; add another small sprinkle of salt. Cook for an additional minute or two. Add stock/broth, increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Cover pan, with lid slightly askew, and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Remove from heat.

Using an immersion blender, purée soup until very smooth (alternately, purée in a blender in small batches, venting the lid to let steam escape, and return to pot). Place pot over medium heat and stir in milk, cooking until heated through, but not boiling. Add sherry vinegar or lemon juice and stir. Season with freshly ground black pepper and additional salt, if necessary.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with reserved thyme and pistachios. Makes 4-6 servings.

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Grilled Mushroom Satay wtih Garlic Scape Skewers

Satay on Platter
Checking out the new additions at the farmer’s market on Saturday, I was excited to see garlic scapes. A first for me last year, I immediately fell in love with their mild garlic flavor and versatility—soups, pesto, eggs, salads—scapes in everything—that is, for the short amount of time they are available.

The flower buds of the garlic plant, scapes are cut from the plants in late June to encourage the bulbs to thicken up. They are long and curl into a loop when cut and are sold in bunches of the most beautiful shade of green. Odd looking, but oh so pretty at the same time.

Garlic Scapes

Garlic Scapes

Wanting to use the scapes in a different way, I turned to Google for some ideas and stumbled across a Food52 recipe for this beef satay recipe that uses scapes as skewers. Genius! Something I never would have thought of, but now makes so much sense—why NOT an edible skewer?

My go-to veggie substitute for steak is the meaty portabella mushroom, so that was swapped for the round steak. I tweaked the marinade recipe a bit and used a different satay sauce, and the result was fantastic! In fact, I may use this as my regular marinade for portabella burgers from now on—the flavors just sing!
Satay on Grill PanYou can make the satay sauce a day or two ahead of time, or make it while the mushrooms are marinating. I poked each mushroom quarter with a metal skewer to create a hole and then threaded the end of the scape through that I had cut into a point. A couple mushrooms broke, so I just grilled them separately next to the skewers.

Arranged on a platter, the finished product is as eye-catching as it is delicious! And don’t skimp on the phenomenal satay sauce. Enjoy!
Satay with Sauce

Grilled Mushroom Satay with Garlic Scape Skewers

Inspired by this recipe from Food 52

6 garlic scapes

1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced

Juice of one lime

Small handful of cilantro leaves

About 10 mint leaves

About 10 Thai basil leaves

1/4 cup tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)

1 tablespoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

4 large portabella mushroom caps, stems removed and gills scraped out, and cut into quarters

Make scape skewers by cutting 8-9 inches off the non-flower bud end of six garlic scapes. Trim one end of each scape into a point. Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the marinade, cut 3-4 of the remaining portion of the scapes into small pieces (discard the wide part, which is the flower bud). Place in the bowl of a food processor and add the ginger, lime juice, cilantro, mint, Thai basil leaves and the tamari. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, drizzle in the sesame and grapeseed oils and blend until combined.

Pour the marinade into a large zip-lock bag and add the portabella mushroom quarters. Seal the bag and gently toss everything around to coat the mushrooms. Refrigerate for several hours, turning several times (alternately, marinate at room-temperature for about an hour, tossing occasionally).

While mushrooms are marinating, make the Spicy Satay Sauce (recipe below).

Heat gas grill to medium high (or charcoal grill to the equivalent). Poke the mushroom quarters with a metal skewer and then thread through the hole formed by the metal skewer with the scape skewers, using three mushroom quarters per garlic scape skewer.

Place the skewers on a pan designed for cooking items that might fall through the grates on a grill. Grill until the mushrooms are cooked through, turning about every 2 minutes in order to cook evenly, for a total of about 10 minutes, basting occasionally with remaining marinade.

Serve drizzled with Spicy Satay Sauce. Makes 4 skewers.

Spicy Satay Sauce
1/3 cup tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)

¼ cup light coconut milk

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter, at room temperature

1 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon rice or white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice

1 teaspoon minced ginger root

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon pure maple syrup or honey

1 teaspoon Asian chili paste (like Sambal Oelek)

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Whisk together all sauce ingredients in a bowl until combined. Serve at room temperature. Leftovers will keep a couple weeks in the fridge.