The Great (E)scape

In the past week, I have found myself in no fewer than four conversations with people scratching their heads as to what to do with some of the contents of their weekly CSAs. Things like strawberries and arugula are pretty much no-brainers – in fact, a salad of just those two things is quite lovely – but alien-looking kohlrabi and twisty garlic scapes seem to stump most folks, myself included.

I have yet to receive kohlrabi in my own box, but two weeks in a row I’ve gotten bunches of scapes, the green shoots that grow out from the heads of some types of garlic. Otherwise known as green garlic,  baby garlic, or garlic flowers, among other aliases, they’re much milder than garlic cloves.

Based on my conversations, the default blueprint for garlic-scaping is a pesto recipe, via a Washington Post blog. I’m here to report, first and foremost, that said recipe is very tasty indeed. Tossed with pasta, it makes a very nice dinner and a very portable lunch. But when Scapes: Round Two arrived in the CSA box, I felt the need to branch out. I am happy to report a new development in scape-ology, and I owe it all to Rich.

No, he didn’t come up with the recipe, but he offered up the inspiration. When I told him that we were having yet another dinner featuring red leaf lettuce salad, he asked if we could pick up garlic bread at the supermarket. (We were actually headed over there later that day, to meet with a financial adviser from our bank. Yes, our bank is in our supermarket, which is not so much convenient as depressing. Think strip mall instead of Le Corbusier.) What Rich had in mind were those supermarket bakery loaves, impregnated with garlic and butter and sold in foil bags so that they can go straight into the oven. And that’s when it hit me: garlic-scape bread.

The recipe I’ve come up with is so painfully obvious, I’m embarrassed that it has taken me until now to come up with it. It’s basically the same formula as the pesto: scape-paste incorporated with fat (butter instead of oil), served with starch (bread instead of pasta).

An added bonus: the compounded butter turns a wonderful shade of pea green. Rich asked what, if anything, had I added to achieve its springtime hue. Not a thing. Call me a garlic-scape bread purist.

Incidentally, our meeting with the financial adviser was remarkably pain free. We ran some life insurance quotes and discovered, actuarially speaking, that I’m a safer bet than Rich. “Women eat more vegetables than men,” the adviser observed by way of explanation. True, but I don’t think he had this recipe in mind…

Don't be fooled by the green. That's mostly butter in there.

Garlic-Scape Bread


One bunch of garlic scapes, approximately 10 shoots

One stick of unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces

Pinch of salt

One loaf of bread — French or Ciabatta, whatever your preference; we grabbed a day-old, discounted baguette which did the job just fine.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Roughly chop the scapes on a cutting board. Add to the bowl of a food processor and process about 15 seconds. Add butter and salt and process for another 15 seconds or so, until the butter and scapes form a paste.

There are two ways to tackle the assemblage: Either slice the loaf length-wise and shmear or cut a dozen or so horizontal slits across the top and apply the butter inside each. Or cut the loaf in half and try both. Wrap the loaf in foil and toss in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove and enjoy.


16 thoughts on “The Great (E)scape

  1. That’s a pretty great idea! You could slice the bread, toast the slices under the broiler and then just put the spread atop the toasts. That’s what I would do anyway because I like the texture better.

    I’m enjoying the theme of Rich as the reluctant accomplice, being brought mystery foods as he’s fixing his bike and wanting processed foods and instead getting something from the CSA box.

  2. Our first CSA box of the season arrives today and it will have garlic scapes. Thanks for the inspiring idea! I can never say no to garlic bread. Last year when we were on week 4 or 5 of the scapes, I cut them into small pieces and cooked in a little olive oil to soften, then added to salads and other vegetable dishes.

  3. Yum! That garlic bread in the foil package is one of my secret guilty pleasure, but this looks so, so much better. Not to mention that I now know what to do with those scapes I keep seeing at the farmer’s market!

  4. Great idea! Are you doing the Ward’s Berry Farm CSA too? I’ve been putting scapes in everything – salad, meatloaf, eggs. I made the obligatory pesto two weeks ago, but I don’t mind because it’s so delicious.

    I hope we get kohlrabi! My grandma used to grow it and I rarely see it now.

    • Hi Mike,
      Yup, I’m doing Ward’s Berry Farm. I work at BU, so my pickup involves me grabbing my canvas tote, walking three blocks up Comm Ave, and emptying the box’s contents into it. And then I bike it home in a basket. It couldn’t be easier if I tried. I don’t remember kohlrabi from last year’s boxes, but I look forward to reading your grandma’s recipes if and when the time comes. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Ohh, that sounds lovely. Alas we don’t get garlic scapes and the season for fresh garlic has long since passed. We do, however, (as I’m sure you remember) get tons and tons of kohlrabi. Generally I just eat it with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Sometimes I put it in chicken soup. I do vaguely recall seeing a recipe somewhere for kohlrabi baked in cream- I should find that.

  6. love the color of your scape butter. I also use them, cut into small pieces to saute or poach with green beans or fava beans, or in a potent vinaigrette.
    kohlrabi, however, is a whole other issue–I’ve never cooked with it!

  7. Pingback: Food Therapy from Cheap Beets | Public Radio Kitchen

  8. Thanks, Molly! I decided to do a mix between scape butter and scape pesto. I cut up the scapes in 2″ pieces and threw them into the food processor with freshly toasted pine nuts. I added a stick of softened salted butter and a whole bunch of Parmesan. Pulsed until combined, spread on some Italian Bread, wrapped it in foil and baked as directed. Viola! Scape Pesto Bread! Delish!

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