Thursday, June 11, 2009

More Recipes--Kale and Scapes

I thought you might appreciate a few more cooking suggestions for your share.

Kale--First off kale is actually best in the fall when it can go through a few light frosts, which brings out its sweetness and tempers its bitterness. That being said, the kale and its slight bitterness pairs nicely with onions, white beans, and balsamic vinegar--and like most members of the brassica family (broccoli, turnips, most asian greens,...) it is packed with vitamins. Click here for braised kale and pancetta recipe.

Garlic Scapes-Known as "stems", "scapes", "spears", or "tops", these tender green "flowers" are the seedpod that forms on hard neck garlic plants in June. This delicious stalk has a taste that is milder than the garlic cloves, and has a broad spectrum of uses from soups to salads to garnishes. Garlic scapes are an allium delicacy that is highly prized and traditionally used in Southern, Eastern European, and Korean cuisine because of it's subtle garlic flavor, tender-crisp texture, and nutraceutical potency.
When the scapes are newly-budded and still in full curl, they are tender and provide a delightfully subtle garlic flavor. Cut them when they curl between 1/2 and 3/4 turn. After the scapes have straightened and the flower top is maturing, they will be tough.
Garlic scapes store well. You can keep batches in the refrigerator for upwards of three weeks, though fresh cut is always the best. Remove all of the stalk tip above the pod [umbel] before cooking.
Here are general cooking tips: Don’t overcook, they tend to get tough. Try starting simple, to learn how much cooking is enough and how much is too much, by sautéing the scapes in a little olive oil at medium heat, adding salt and pepper to taste. The end result should be a side dish that is elegant and delightfully tasty. Garlic spears can almost be used like asparagus. They are very well suited for stir-fries.

Raw Scape Pesto
Garlic scapes make a pesto that is a pretty green color and a knock-your-socks-off rich garlic flavor. If this pesto is too strong for your taste, add mayonnaise or sour cream to dilute by 1/1 or even 2/1.
½ lb. scapes (chopped into 1" sections)
1½ c. olive oil
2 c. grated parmesan cheese
In a blender, combine the scapes and olive oil. Pour mixture into bowl and blend the cheese in by hand. Can be used as a cracker or pizza spread. Can be frozen in plastic ice cube trays and used later - this applies to the other pestos, dips, and dressings as well. Wrap cubes individually with plastic wrap, place in a freezer bag and return to freezer. Use all year for making bruschetta, with pasta or pizza.
ALSO, garlic bread: 2 or 3 cubes thawed works great as a substitution for the oil component of bread.

Scape Sauté
1 dozen garlic scapes
1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar.
Trim and discard the scape tips. Cut into two-inch lengths. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the scapes and the onions and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes, until the scapes are crisp-tender. Uncover and season with salt, pepper, and balsamic vinegar.

Roasted Scapes
Take the scapes and put them in a lightly oiled roasting pan, top with salt (kosher or sea salt works best but any will do). Put the loaded and covered pan in a hot (400°F) oven for 30 to 45 minutes or until they are just beginning to turn brown on the bottom. Serve as a side or main dish. Tastes like roasted garlic but creamier.

Fried Scapes
Cut scapes to green bean size and sauté them in butter and salt for 6 to 8 minutes. During the last minute of cooking add about 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar. They are good and amazingly simple.

Pickled scapes
1 pound or more of scapes, whole
3 cups vinegar
5 cups water
¼ cup kosher salt
1 tbsp curry powder in each quart jar (if desired)
other herbs to taste: basil & oregano are very good plus chopped cayenne or jalapeno pepper to taste
Boil the water, vinegar & salt solution. Pack hot jars with whole scapes, then curry powder, and then the brine. Put on lids, place in a hot water canner and boil for 45 minutes. Leave at least 2 weeks before serving to get best flavor. Makes 3 quarts

Other ideas
Steam and serve in dishes instead of asparagus. Add to quiche or omelets. Stir fry with vegetables. Add raw to salads. Combine with mayonnaise to add zip to sandwiches.

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