7.16.2008

garlic scape and coriander chutney


I was first introduced to garlic scapes (and ramps, and lambs’ quarters, and so many other fabulous forage-ables this country has to offer) about 14 years ago while doing my counselor’s training at Au Grand Bois - a vegan not-for-profit summer camp in Québec. The camp was an amazing place, run by back-to-the-land draft-dodgers from the States, which has sadly since closed its doors. The focus was on sustainable living, with solar -powered and –heated everything, where campers and staff were encouraged to learn about organic agriculture by working in one of the many gardens.

I’ve been a garlic lover all my life, having been force-fed it since birth both as a food and a medicine by my grandmother, who rubbed it on our bee stings to ease the pain, made poultices with it to reduce swelling, and swore that a raw clove of garlic every morning was far better than an apple a day [everyone, myself included, thought she was crazy. Lo, years later, it is considered a nutritional wonder-food, with emerging research touting its cardiovascular, antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic benefits. Once again proving that my grandmother is a genius. All the kids in my grade school who called me a stinky Leb can suck it.] I thought I knew everything there was to know about this pungent gift from the gods (being a teenager and knowing everything about everything, period, probably didn't hurt) from my grandmother's teachings, however she had never once mentioned that not only were the green garlic shoots edible, but tasty to boot.

So you can imagine my surprise when one of the farmers at Au Grand Bois snapped off a tall, green, curly shoot from the garlic patch and told me to munch away. But I did. And if I could remember his name I’d send him a case of rye every summer when the first scapes show up at the market (if anyone knows a middle-aged blonde hippie who lives out of a VW Westfalia and has a kid named Merlin, give him a high-five for me).

With scapes making their brief and long-awaited appearance at the organics stall of the farmer’s market, and coriander threatening to take over my garden, it was the perfect time to make one of my all-time favourite condiments – garlic scape and coriander chutney. If you’re finding yourself facing the same wonderful predicament, give it a shot. If you like things that are spicy and flavourful and look like radioactive toxic waste but taste like heaven, then you shouldn’t be disappointed.

garlic scape and coriander chutney

what you need …

2 c. (packed) fresh coriander, leaves and tender stems, coarsely chopped
1 c. garlic scapes, topped and chopped
2 medium fresh green chilis, seeded and chopped
2 inches fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1/2 a small white onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
a few turns freshly ground black pepper

what you do …

Heat a dry skillet over medium-high and roast the cumin until fragrant, watching closely to ensure it doesn’t burn. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until puréed, stopping frequently to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Use as you would any other spicy chutney, or eat it with a spoon. Should last about a week.

* This chutney, as most others, is best if made at least a few hours, and preferably a day, before you plan to eat it to allow the flavours a chance to get all friendly.


This is my first cooking related / recipe post, and it just happens to be herb friendly, so in the spirit of "if-you're-gonna-do-it-overdo-it" I'm submitting it to the Weekend Herb Blogging event, which this week is being hosted by Archana's Kitchen.


Oh, and --- I picked the first cherry tomatoes of the season in my garden today. I'm geeking out hard.

6 comments:

kittee said...

I have heard lots about scapes, but have never seen them down here. Alliums don't grow very well in our hot, humid climate. I usually throw a bunch of kitchen onions into the ground in November, for pretty Spring blossoms, but then they generally rot into the ground. Right now I have some shallots in the ground, but they didn't bloom and they are whithering. So I'm not really sure what part the scape is, is it the bump that turns into a bud? That's what I'm guessing. Your chutney sounds great, and I appreciate the KRSNA link, I'm gonna have to check out some of those recipes.

xo
kittee

- L said...

Hello there Kittee,

the scape is the long, curly green shoot with the bud at the end, yes. for eating purposes, you cut off the bud and use the rest.

the best description for the taste, i guess is that scapes are to garlic bulbs what spring green onions (scallions) are to white onions. they're mellow and tasty.

it's sad you can't grow them where you are, but honestly, if i could go into my backyard and pick fresh figs, i'd consider the trade-off more than fair...

if you're a fan of pickled garlic, as i am, let me know, and next year when they're back in full fols i'll pickle some for you, and send you those and some scape chutney, if you're interested.

-L.

kittee said...

am i interested??? ha. yes, please. so this scape thing, you get no blossoms??? my favorite thing about alliums is their blossoms! i would never de-scape my garlic if i grew it. i actually think there is one variety that is supposed to do ok down here, but i have never found it. we are trying to move to the west coast, and when we get there, the first thing i'm planting is a shitload of garlic, kitchen onions and giant alliums. we have something here called agapanthus (lily of the nile) and the blossoms sorta resemble allium blossoms, but mine never bloom...a

xo
kittee

- L said...

maybe you could let 1/2 bloom, and harvest the other 1/2?

this is making me think Jack Spratt...

good luck on the moving!

Kalyn said...

What a perfect post for Weekend Herb Blossom. I love the idea of combining cilantro and garlic scapes. I don't think I've seen that combination before, but I can tell from the ingredient list that this would taste wonderful!

Natashya said...

Looks tasty, verdant and alive.
All you need is some nice crusty bread.