Garlic scapes are the immature, unopened flowers that form at the top of the plant’s leafy stalk in early summer. They have a delicate, garlic flavour and are much less potent than the bulb. In fact, I can’t eat much garlic raw or cooked, but I can devour garlic scapes aplenty with no stomach upset.
They are coming up in the garden right now, but they get hard, and less palatable as they grow so it’s always a race to harvest and use them all while they are still tender and at their peak. I turned some into a batch of tasty pesto (my recipe is in “Easy Growing: Organic Herbs and Edible Flowers from Small Spaces“) and I have also pan fried several more. This is done quickly and easily — chopped into chunks and quick, quick in a pan with some olive oil and salt.
I started out today’s lunch with that intention, but as they were cooking I had the idea to add them to some fava beans that were sat in the crisper drawer and needed to be used up.
I won’t bother with quantities for this recipe. It’s easy enough to adjust based on what you have on hand.
RECIPE: Pan Fried Garlic Scapes with Fava Beans
Shuck the fava beans from the pod and cook them in boiling water until tender. Rinse in cold water and peel away the outer skin of any beans that are bigger than your thumb. Detailed instructions on cooking fava beans can be found over here.
Chop a handful of garlic scapes into bite-sized pieces and fry them quickly in a pan of hot olive oil until tender. Shake the pan as they cook and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Add the cooked fava beans and toss everything together for a few minutes so that the fava beans are coated in what will now be lightly garlic-infused oil.
Transfer to a bowl. Add a few splashes of lemon juice or Balsamic vinegar and crumble feta cheese on top (this is optional, but I love feta with favas).
Serve it up on toast or as a side dish.