If we look in our gardens now we will see the garlic, shallots, and leeks sending up seed pods, known as fronds or scapes. These need to be cut out before the head forms, the younger the better, in order to allow the bulbs to grow larger. These fronds are perfectly edible and can be used in pesto or as a nice addition to a stir fry, or even pickled. I prefer to use them fresh, but they can also be dehydrated for later use.
The following is a pesto recipe which can be frozen to be used when those heritage tomatoes you planted ripen in June.
GARLIC SCAPE (or Fronds) AND ALMOND PESTO
Makes about 1 cup
10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)
1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you’d like)
About 1/2 cup olive oil
Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle).
Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese. If you like the texture, stop; if you’d like it a little thinner, add some more oil. Season with salt.
Refrigerate for up to two days, but make sure there is no air in the container or put saran wrap on and press it down on the pesto to stop oxidation, otherwise freeze in ice cube trays and remove and put into bags to be used when you like.
This is great on roasted potatoes, tossed with warm spinach salad, (spinach is ready now), or spread on a lamb roast in it’s last half hour of roasting. Use your imagination. Great on pasta and rice as well.
Enjoy the spring vegetables and remember to visit the Sooke and Shirley Country Markets for those fresh vegetables.
Submitted by Ellen Lewers @ firstname.lastname@example.org