Curly garlic scapes are a staple of summer farmer’s markets. This simple recipe for grilled garlic scapes is a quick way to enjoy this unusual vegetable. You can throw these on the grill and have mildly garlic spears to serve with your grilled dinner in just 10 minutes.
Garlic scapes are only available for a few weeks of the year, but they are delicious. I love to cook with them, whether it is adding them to a frittata, making garlic scape pesto or pickling them. This recipe is the simplest way to cook them, simply grilling them and serving them with steak or other grilled meats.
What are Garlic Scapes
Garlic scapes are the flower stalks that come out of the top of the garlic bulb. In early summer farmers remove the stalks so that the garlic bulbs will grow even larger.
Here in New York you can find garlic scapes for about three weeks in late June and early July. My family belongs to a CSA and usually receive garlic scapes as part of our CSA shares. You can also find them being sold at farmer’s markets. I’ve never seen them in a grocery store, but a specialty organic store might have them.
The stalks are very curly and fall into coils after they are cut. They have a mild garlic flavor which is much less pungent than a garlic clove. Their texture is kind of similar to asparagus, although they don’t taste much like asparagus.
Because they are so mild they are worth trying even if you aren’t a huge garlic fan. The flavor is muted and these grilled garlic scapes have a hint of garlic, but it is subtle.
How to Make Grilled Garlic Scapes
This recipe is a very simple way to cook garlic scapes and is similar to making grilled scallions. You don’t have to chop the scapes or do much preparation, so it is an easy side dish to make at the last minute.
The first step to get the garlic scapes ready for grilling is washing them and cutting the ends off. Then they need to be coated with a little bit of olive oil.
The easiest way to cover them with olive oil is to put them on a rimmed tray and drizzle the oil over them. Then use fingers to rub the olive oil into the scapes, so that all the parts of the stalk get covered with oil.
I have tried tossing the scapes with oil in a bowl, but they just don’t get well oiled unless you use your fingers. You could also try spraying them with cooking spray.
Then sprinkle them with salt and pepper, as much or as little as you like. I like to use about 1/2 a Tablespoon of Kosher salt, but I like them salty. Then put the garlic scapes directly on the grill, which should be set on low to medium heat.
Let the garlic scapes cook on the grill, covered, lifting the lid every 2-3 minutes to turn them. You want them to be brown on the outside and soft on the side. It takes about 10 minutes to cook garlic scapes on my gas grill.
What to Serve With Grilled Garlic Scapes
I usually treat these grilled garlic scapes as finger food. I just pick them up and eat them, rather than cutting them into pieces. They make a very nice accompaniment to steak, because their subtle garlic flavor enhances the steak. But they go nicely with any grilled dinner and they are easy to throw on the grill at the last minute.
So the next time you are at your local farmer’s market don’t overlook these curly stalks. They are a less common vegetable but are worth seeking out and learning how to cook!
- 1 bunch garlic scapes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Trim the ends of the garlic scapes.
- Put the grill on low heat.
- Put the garlic scapes on a baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Use your finger to rub the oil into the scapes.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- Put them directly on the grill and cook them, turning them until they are brown on both sides. It takes about 5 minutes per side to brown them nicely.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 21Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 49mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g