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

Ingredients

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.

Directions

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.