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
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.