Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Great Scape

Parabolic and hyperbolic garlic scapes appear in the greenmarkets this time of year. The beauties above are from Maxwell Farm. These are the immature tops of garlic plants and they have a flavor similar to garlic but milder and greener. Usually I shave them into salads but this was the first time I cooked them as a vegetable. I am very happy with the results; the cooked garlic scapes have a mildly garlicky flavor and a very pleasant texture, retaining a satisfying toothiness when fully tender.

I didn’t get any fat-stemmed golden chard this week, but I did find this sweet little bunch of petal-pink chard from Yuno’s Farm. There’s the color of June right there. Just look at them. If that doesn’t make you want to braid flowers into your hair and dance barefoot down East 14th Street, I don’t know what will.

Fedelini with Walnuts, Chard and Garlic Scapes

12 walnuts, whole or coarsely broken

¼ pound fedelini or other thin pasta

¼ pound tender chard (1 smallish bunch)

¼ pound garlic scapes (eight scapes)

a few tablespoons butter at room temperature

several tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano

salt and lots of black pepper

If you happen to have some on hand you can add a bit of cream, or a blob of bechamel, maybe a scraping of nutmeg.

Place the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast in a moderate oven for 15 or 20 minutes. They will be done just in time to assemble the dish.

Chop the chard roughly and cut the garlic scapes into ¾ inch lengths. Bring a large pot of lavishly salted water to the boil and add the pasta and the vegetables. Return to the boil and cook, giving an occasional stir. Everything will be perfectly done at exactly the same moment. Sometimes it is our privilege to see that there is such a thing as providence in the world. Now here’s where you have to pay attention: drain the pasta and greens and place them in a large warm bowl. Add a few tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano and mix, mix, toss, toss. Add a tablespoon of butter and several grindings of black pepper and mix, mix, toss, toss. Repeat until you have added as much butter and cheese as you are willing to permit yourself. Salt and optional ingredients to taste. Take the walnuts out of the oven, and sprinkle them over the pasta.

You might be thinking that the amount of greens is way too much for the pasta, but bear in mind that during cooking, pasta gains volume and the greens deflate. This recipe will provide the best ratio of greens to fedelini in each forkful or fingerful.

Other herbs of varying degrees of curviness can be found at Weekend Herb Blogging.

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Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

Is this the same thing as some people call green garlic? I haven't heard the name scapes before. It sounds like it would be delicious. Very interesting recipe.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks and sounds great! Never heard or seen garlic scapes before.

Braid flowers in my hair and dance barefoot down 14th Street? Now, that's powerful!


7:35 AM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

I don't think so. I think green garlic refers to a plant that already has fully formed bulbs, but has membranes between the bulbs that are still moist. But maybe in some areas this is called green garlic too.

It's some powerful chard.

11:17 AM  
Blogger mzn said...

That top picture is gorgeous. I don't think I have seen those things around these parts.

9:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your vegetable arrangements are awesome; this one looks like handwritten musical notation-a strange typeface- calligraphic vegetables.

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh man, i love the scapes (and that picture is phenomenal)...they make the most wonderful slurping/squeeking noise when you pull them out of the garlic plant.

8:45 AM  
Blogger Anna (Morsels and Musings) said...

The photo of the swirling garlic shoots is beautiful.

3:55 AM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

mzn, thanks so much--I will have to remember to post the outtakes on flickr.

Lindy, what a lovely comment! funny you should mention music; I sometimes say reading recipes is analogous to reading music--I may have first heard this from Karen Hess, but now I can't remember--on the list of things to check.

countrymouse, you know, there are a whole bunch of food-related sounds that are very evocative to me. first among them is the groan of a ripe watermelon opening up. Unnnghghhghh. oooooohhhh. It feels soooo gooood to get out of that shell. Maybe I should try posting sound files in mol araan. I don't know if I can't wait for the local watermelons, or if I want time to slow down so our summer vegetable season won't go by so fast.

11:55 AM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Thanks also to Anna! drop by again.

11:56 AM  

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