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.