Great (e)scapes

Photo by Keri White

Scapes are hitting the markets now — these spring garlic sprouts are the tender-ish greens that shoot out of garlic bulbs. They look like long, curly scallions but have a garlicky flavor.

Like scallions, they can be used raw or cooked, and you should use both the white bulb and green stalk portions of the vegetable (although some of the very top of the stalk can be tough and reedy — discard that.

Scapes deliver a milder zing than mature garlic cloves, but there’s plenty of flavor to go around. Like mature cloves, scapes will mellow when cooked. I have used these recently to jazz up scrambled eggs, mixed them with carrots to form a mirepoix-style coating for slow-roasted salmon, and snipped them into both green salad and red salsa. I also mashed them into a baked potato with Icelandic yogurt for a light, healthy, flavorful supper. Here are some other delicious ways to use scapes:

• Puree in pesto, stir into risotto, or toss over pasta
• Chop and mix with salt, oil and vinegar to drizzle over steak or fish.
• Shove them inside a roasting chicken to add flavor.
• Snip them into soups — either while simmering or as a fresh and zippy garnish.
• Stir them into tuna salad or chicken salad for a riff on the traditional onion/celery combo
• Jazz up homemade or store-bought hummus with a sprinkle of chopped scapes
• Chop them finely and mix them with sour cream or plain yogurt with a spritz of lemon and a sprinkle of salt for an epic dip
• Drape them on top avocado toast
• Schmear them in your cream cheese and lox over a bagel

The main thing to know about scapes is that, like spring, they are only here for a short time. So enjoy them while you can!

Scape-coated Salmon

I used lingcod in this preparation worked beautifully — but any fish filet would shine in this recipe. Just be sure to adjust cooking time based on the size and thickness of the pieces.

Serves 2

2 lingcod filets
1 wedge lemon
1 Tablespoon oil
2 scapes, green and white parts, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat oven to 275 degrees. Spritz fish with lemon and sprinkle with salt and pepper; set aside. In an oven-proof skillet, heat oil and saute carrots until they are beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Add scapes, along with a little salt and pepper, and saute until they are wilted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from heat. Move vegetables to sides of pan, lay fish filets in center of pan, and scoop the carrot/scape mixture over the fish to coat. This will keep the fish from drying out while also infusing flavor. Bake fish in oven for about 25 minutes until just cooked through.

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