Garlic is an incredibly versatile plant and while many people are aware of just how to use the bulb from a garlic plant, there is an entire other half to the garlic plant that deserves equal celebration. The garlic stalk is a tasty and under-utilized part of the garlic plant. Often referred to as garlic scape, green garlic or garlic shoots the stalks contain a milder flavour of the garlic bulb.
When you are shopping for garlic scape it is best to look for vibrant green tender stalks. Fresh tender scapes can be used as an alternative to chives or green onion. Thrown into a stir-fry or used in a potato salad they provide a new mild garlic dimension to your cooking. Later in the season, garlic scapes will go from tender-young stalks and will curl and produce flower bulbs. At this point, the garlic flavour produced by the stalks will intensify, but the stalks are also much woodier. When you come across scapes at this stage, it is best to treat them much as you would lemongrass. Cut the stalks down the middle and add them to broth to impart a gentle garlic aroma.
If you want to come down and grab some scapes from Bite, here is an excellent recipe to try with them:
Triple garlic soup
2 bulbs of garlic
1 bulb of black garlic
3 tbsp. of butter
3 cups of garlic scapes
1 ½ tsp. fresh thyme leaves plus extra for garnish
¾ tsp. sea salt
Pepper to taste
1 large Yukon gold potato peeled and diced
4 cups of chicken stock
1-cup cream or half-and-half
2 tsp. lemon juice
Freshly grated nutmeg
Chop garlic bulbs. In a soup pot melt butter over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté for 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add black garlic, garlic scapes, thyme, salt and pepper and continue sautéing for another 3 minutes.
Stir in potato and broth and reduce heat to medium. Simmer until potato is tender, about 20 minutes. Add cream or half-and-half and puree with immersion blender, or carefully transfer to blender and puree in batches. Stir in lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with nutmeg and additional thyme leaves, serve hot.