After looking at the produce we were given this week the scapes and fennel are the items I was least familiar with. Therefore, I have included some ways to use them this week as well as a couple ways to preserve the items.
Shallot and Garlic Scapes
A Cooking Life and Big Oven are both blogs that have great examples of how to prepare the scapes while they are fresh. A Cooking Life details how to grill the garlic scapes much as you would grill asparagus. Big Oven gives a recipe for a frittata with scapes. The links will guide you directly to the recipes.
Now, how to preserve all of the extra.
Pickling Scapes: The following excerpt is from The Deliberate Agrarian.
The recipe we use for making pickled scapes is the Dilly Beans recipe found in the Ball Blue Book. Marlene’s copy of this book is missing the cover, the pages are food-stained, and she has written notes all through. That gives you an idea of how much she uses the book.
Here is the Dilly Beans recipe:
2 pounds green beans
1/4 cup canning salt
2-1/2 cups vinegar
2-1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, divided
4 cloves garlic, divided
4 heads dill, divided
Trim ends off green beans. Combine salt, vinegar and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil. Pack beans lengthwise into hot jars, leaving 1/4” headspace. Add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 clove garlic, and 1 head dill to each pint. Ladle hot liquid over beans, leaving ¼” headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints and quarts 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner. Yield: about four pints.
We modified the recipe a bit. For example, we left out the garlic cloves. And since our dill is not yet ready to use, we put a tsp of dill seed in each pint jar.
GARLIC SCAPE AND ALMOND PESTO
In The Kitchen And On The Road With Dorie
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.
If you’re not going to use the pesto immediately, press a piece of plastic against the surface to keep it from oxidizing. The pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months, by which time tomatoes should be at their juciest.
Penne with Fennel Pesto
Makes 4 servings, plus leftover pesto
Preparation time: 30 minutes
1/3 cup pistachios, toasted
2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 ounce (about ½ cup) freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for pasta water
Ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups fennel fronds (usually from 2 fennel bulbs)
optional: 4-5 mint leaves, torn
about ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of ½ lemon, or to taste
1 pound penne pasta
1 cup frozen peas
1.Put the pistachios, garlic, cheese, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse a few times to grind slightly.
2.Add fennel and mint, if using, to the food processor. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is reduced to a paste and has a spreadable, but not greasy consistency. Taste and add salt if necessary. Squeeze in a little bit of lemon juice to taste.
3.Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt the water generously and cook the pasta until al dente.
4.While the pasta is cooking, set up a colander in the sink and put the frozen peas in it. (If you have fresh peas, by all means use them. You can add them to the boiling water in the last few minutes of cooking the pasta.)
5.When the pasta is done, drain the pasta in the colander. Return the pasta, along with the peas, into the pot. Stir in the pesto until pasta is lightly coated and flavorful. Squeeze in a little lemon juice, to taste.
6.Serve hot or at room temperature.
Fennel Infused OilFrom the blog Chowhound
To make the oil, faintly warm olive oil with fennel fronds, a cut up lemon, a pinch of chili flakes, and crushed whole garlic cloves. Let it meld together for an hour or so, then strain. Season with salt and pepper, use as a drizzle on the cooked fish as well as on the onion/fennel bed you roast the fish on. Keep the rest in the fridge to use again.
Please let me know what you think of these recipes. Don’t forget that you can freeze the pesto for meals in later months. I think I will try the fennel pesto with penne since I’ll be able to use up the rest of the mint from last week’s share.
Here is to a satisfying meal on a cold, blustery night.