The Great (E)Scape

Scape-coated salmon. 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; some of the very top of the stalk can be tough and reedy, so 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 a 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 them into pesto, stir them into risotto or toss them over pasta.

Chop and mix them 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 of 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
Serves 2

I used lingcod in this preparation and it 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.

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 your oven to 275 degrees F. Spritz the fish with lemon, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper; set it aside.
In an ovenproof skillet, heat the oil and sauté the carrots until they are beginning to soften, about 6 minutes. Add the scapes, along with a little salt and pepper, and sauté until they are wilted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Move the vegetables to the sides of pan, place the fish filets in the center and scoop the carrot/scape mixture over the fish to coat it. This will keep the fish from drying out, while also infusing flavor. Bake the fish for about 25 minutes until just cooked through.

Scrambled egg-scape. Photo by Keri White

Scrambled Egg-scape
Serves 1

I bashed this together for a quick, healthy, flavorful lunch. The scapes elevated the basic scramble to something quite special.

I am notoriously lazy about dishes, so I tend to just crack the eggs into the hot skillet and scramble them with a spatula. But more motivated and precise cooks may wish to crack them into a bowl and whisk them until fluffy. Your dishes, your call! And if you want to make this a little fancier, make an omelet, frittata or a soufflé; the scapes don’t care what’s wrapped around them.

2-inch piece of scape, chopped
Spray of cooking oil
Salt and pepper to taste
2 eggs

In a small skillet, heat the oil and sauté the scapes until they are wilted and fragrant, about 3 minutes.

Add the salt, pepper and eggs, and mix them in the pan to distribute the scapes evenly. Cook to the desired doneness, about 3 minutes for a soft-ish texture. Serve immediately.


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