Fried Garlic Scapes and Heirloom Tomatoes

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Garlic scapes are the curly tops of garlic bulbs that show up a few weeks before the bulbs are ready to come out of the ground.  They have a mild garlic flavor and are great in salads and sautees.

Since they are so abundant in late spring/early summer, it’s hard to think of a lot of recipes to use them all up.  So when I told some of our farmers I was going to trying frying them, eyes lit up.  A couple of comments were “Oh my god what a great idea!!!” “I love our CSA shareholders!”  Encouraged by the reaction, Hubby and I dragged out our giant tub of oil (which rarely gets used so you know he was excited) and got to work.  The scapes were the perfect foil to a fresh heirloom tomato salad.  Save the extra scapes and aioli for dipping!

Fried Garlic Scape and Heirloom Tomato Salad

Makes 2 large main course servings

For the salad:
1 1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/2 inch thick
10 basil leaves, sliced into thin ribbons (julienne)
1 cup pea shoots
1/4 cup aioli (recipe follows)
2 fried garlic scapes (recipe follows)

Layer tomato slices, aioli, pea shoots and basil.  Top with garlic scapes.  Serve with additional scapes and aioli on the side.

For the scapes:
3 cups canola oil
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup medium-bodied beer, such as Yuengling
10 garlic scapes, rinsed and dried, tops removed
Salt

Heat canola oil in a heavy 2 quart saucepan on medium high until it reads 325 degrees on an instant thermometer.  You want to maintain the temperature between 325 and 350 degrees so decrease/increase the heat as needed.  Have ready a plate with a double layer of paper towels.

Whisk flour and cornstarch until blended.  Slowly whisk in beer until smooth and the texture of egg yolks – add beer or more dry ingredients if needed. 

Dredge each garlic scape in batter completely; add to the frying oil.  Fry 2-3 at a time until batter puffs and is light brown.  Drain on paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle scapes with salt.

For the aioli (makes 1 cup):
2 egg yolks, very fresh
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced and ground to a paste with 1 tsp salt
1/2 cup olive oil

Whisk egg yolks until thick, pale yellow, and triple the volume.  Whisk in lemon juice and garlic.  Add olive oil slowly and whisk until completely emulsified into a thin mayonnaise consistency; add additional oil if too thick.  Store in fridge until ready to use – use within 1 day.

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