Archive for June 26th, 2009

Gorgeous green curlicues, Watteauesque arabesques…

Not to be confused with green garlic (long spring stalks with the bulbs attached) or ramps (wild leeks, whose season is earlier), scapes are the seed pod portion of the garlic plant that must be culled before they harden and pale from green to beige.  Snipping them helps the garlic bulb below fatten up.  Scapes’ season is fleeting, their flavor mere essence, evanescence.

Unlike the stronger-tasting bulbs, mild scapes can stand alone: blanched and tossed on a salad or ground into a pesto; sautéed with baby bok choy and thrown together with noodles; mixed in sneakily with green beans for an added dimension of flavor.

At the Hanover farmers’ market on Wednesday afternoon, I bought a small bunch.  Last night, my mom diced scapes and added them to her summery corn and edamame salad.  The night before, I sautéed them with local greens in a dish I make frequently, which is based on yaki-soba.  Here’s the recipe:

Garlicky Noodles and Greens
Serves 4

1 package soba (buckwheat) noodles
1 lb. fresh spinach, washed and torn up
2 heads baby bok choy, roughly chopped
5 garlic scapes, chopped
1 lb. flank steak or chicken breast, sliced
2 tbs. sesame oil
2 tbs. mirin
2 tbs. soy sauce
Thai hot sauce
Lime slices

In a small bowl, combine oil, mirin, and soy sauce; set aside. Sauté the meat until mid-rare, and set aside.  In the same pan, with a bit more oil, cook the greens and scapes, covered, over moderate heat.  After a few minutes, remove the lid, to let the water evaporate.  Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the soba noodles, and cook for 5 minutes.  Drain, and pour into a warmed serving bowl.  Just before serving, put the meat back in the pan with the greens to re-warm.  Combine greens & meat with noodles, pour the sauce over, and toss to coat.  Add hot sauce and lime juice individually to taste.


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