Garlic gets a ‘new’ trendy makeover

Seasonal Supper: garlic scapes have taken the food world by a slow storm

Since the asparagus season has ended, you can supplement them as a side dish for your fish or beef

Since the asparagus season has ended, you can supplement them as a side dish for your fish or beef

 

Where are on earth did all the garlic scapes come from? It seems they arrived suddenly, without warning. For so long in this country, garlic was a foreign object, something that the Mediterranean inflicted upon us in large quantities somewhere since the 1980s. I remember the first time we had garlic. That’s Italian, I was told (assume a thick Dublin accent). I think the speaker now meant that they eat it in Italy as opposed to the provenance of the bulb.

Garlic bread and butter where my introduction to the food stuff, lashed on in large quantities on some quasi-French loaf. Oh, how suddenly we were European. Whatever about the spread of the garlic bulb to all parts of Ireland and to its becoming a common thing grandmothers add to their bolognaise for the grandchildren, garlic scapes have taken the food world by a slow storm in recent years. It is a food stuff that every angel-haired hipster seems to delight in ordering given their penchant for the more exotic of our local ingredients.

Garlic scapes are the flower bud of the garlic plant. This bud is cut off in the summer in order to encourage the bulbs underground to grow bigger. For me, they are akin to a spring onion only more pungent. There is no end to the ways that you can use scapes. Fried, blanched, pickled, sliced and added to stir fries. They are very versatile. They add a piquancy to many dishes. The bravest garlic lovers will simply take the most tender tops of the stem and eat them raw, chopped up through a salad. 

Most of all, since the asparagus season has ended, you can supplement them as a side dish for your fish or beef. Incidentally, Drummond House who produce wonderful asparagus also produce fields of garlic scapes. Simply blanch for 30 seconds then fry in butter until the butter caramelises around the delicate edges of the scape. 

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