We begin this spring's harvest a little later than usual due to the long cold wet weather a few months ago (though we had a long lettuce harvest!). Finally chard, kale, edible flowers and various herbs are in abundance. The smaller jewels of the harvest are the thinnings from overcrowded crops. When you seed carrots, you do so closely but at some point you need to sacrifice and pull them to make room for larger carrots to grow. These are the products, like tiny micro carrots, you'll never see for sale at the farmer's markets, usually only at higher end restaurants. Garlic scapes fall in that category though they can now be found for sale for a fleeting time at the markets. Here is Pippa's experience using scapes, fava tops and micro carrots in a recipe. If you are ever invited to taste Pippa's cooking, don't pass up the opportunity!
We are just beginning to get our first taste of what our work on the farm will yield. Rissa and I harvested garlic scapes and thinned the yellow and purple carrots. Garlic scapes are the stem that grows up from the bulb and will eventually flower. They are removed not only for eating, but also to ensure that the plant puts all of its energy into developing the bulb, rather than the flower. We went home with an abundance of scapes, a few baby carrots and some tops of the fava bean plants (Click HERE for why one might clip the tops of fava beans) Immediately I began concocting the best way to utilize my precious crops. Pam mentioned that fava tops are often used in pasta dishes and Rissa had just recently made a garlic scape pesto. So, inspired by both I decided to make a pesto-like sauce for pasta and add the fava tops and a few other greens left over from various farmers markets and create flavorful garlic-scapey green pasta! I started by grilling the scapes to impart a nice smoky flavor.
I added them to the food processor with a half cup of a mix of walnuts and pistachios (because that’s what I had – any nuts will do), 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese, a Serrano chili (this is optional..we just happen to love heat in our food!), and half a red onion.
While the food processor is going, stream in a few tablespoons of olive oil. I then added the scape mixture to a hot pan and added 1/3 of a cup of white wine and a few ladles of starchy pasta water.
I let that cook down and the wine to reduce and then added the cooked pasta to the sauce (we used whole wheat spaghetti – but really any string pasta would work) and then folded in all the lovely greens.
I served it topped with a sprinkle of parmesan and some of the reserved fava tops. Add salt and pepper to taste. I also grilled those gorgeous baby carrots at the same time that I grilled the scapes. The end product was delicious! It tasted very fresh and the flavor of the greens and scapes really shone! The greens I used were a combo of red Russian kale, purslane, callaloo and fava tops- basically it’s a great way to use whatever left over greens you end up with!…I still have some scapes and fava tops left. Any suggestions? Happy cooking! ~Pippa