The tops of fresh spring garlic are popping out of the garden. I’m always so glad to see it’s survived the winter! I don’t have enough room to plant tons of garlic, but the 18-20 bulbs I do get in the ground always come in handy. The best thing about growing your own garlic – collecting the garlic scapes. But you can also buy them in bunches at local farmer’s markets.
I’ve written about garlic scapes before: scapes are the curling tops of the garlic plants. They should be picked before the developing flower opens. To eat them raw, you should pick them when they begin to emerge from between the main garlic leaves, even before they start to curl, when they are still tender. If you catch them a little later, they can always be blanched to soften them up a bit. Two years ago I posted two recipes for garlic scape pesto.
The pesto is still a favourite of mine, but with garlic scape season just around the corner, I thought I’d share another way to cook them up: lightly battered and fried. I’ve served these for dinner, over steaks or chicken, or even as an appetizer. Trimming and blanching them first removes any fibrous parts that aren’t so pleasant to chomp into. The batter makes them crisp as you bite into the light, fresh garlic taste.
Fried Garlic Scapes
15 garlic scapes (approximately)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold water
Canola oil for frying
First, pick or buy your garlic scapes. Make sure they are a bright green (not yellowing) and that the flower pods are not yet large.
Trim off the flower pod top and an inch off the end (or more if you find it tough). The tops are not pleasant to eat at all.
In a large pan, set a few cups of water on to simmer. When bubbling, blanch the scapes, in two or three batches, for one minute. Remove to a colander to drain. Dump the water from your pan, wipe it off and fill it an inch deep with canola oil and set it on med-high to heat. Next, mix up your batter. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and cold water. Whisk until smooth.
When your oil is heated, dunk the scapes in the batter and place directly into the oil to fry. Cook for about one-two minutes per side, or until lightly golden. Remove to a paper towel to drain and sprinkle with salt while hot, if desired.
Serve over your main course as an edible garnish or as an appetizer with an aioli dipping sauce.