Tag: garlic scapes

Pickles with Garlic, Scapes & Fennel

Lacto-Fermented Pickles with Garlic Scapes and Fennel (photo: Instagram)

by Dori Fern

When I posted the above shot on Facebook with the caption “Mama’s First Pickles,” a friend expressed shock that I had never before then attempted to make these simple, sour treats at home. I am, after all, an avid and adventurous cook with Semitic, pickle-eating, roots who resides in Brooklyn, the locavore locus of do-it-yourselfness.

I have resisted making my own mainly because, unlike many foods and dishes I boldly believe I can improve on myself, I cannot imagine besting the Eastern European-style pickles I have most enjoyed. Growing up, that meant Ba-Tampte half sours, the brand favored by every self-respecting Jewish New Yorker. In my post-adolescence years, Guss’ pickles out of the barrel on the Lower East Side were a real revelation: garlic, half-sours, sours, sometimes tomatoes and always the addictive pickled mushrooms.

My pickle tastes have wandered in recent years. These days I tend to go for quick-pickled veggies decidedly not of the European variety, like sweet, hot and sour shredded cabbage and carrots. A  perky topping, indeed, for tacos and Southeast Asian dishes. These I have made at home.

But last week at the market, I couldn’t get my mind off the classics of my youth. Ray had everything I needed to make a reinvented, neo-Brooklyn, version of the pickles I love: cute-as-a-button little kirbys, garlic scapes, new season garlic. And since I was buying the fennel for a salad, I decided to use the wild mane of fronds as a substitute for dill in my pickles.

This recipe on Food52 seemed perfect. I was curious about the lacto-fermentation process and liked the idea of watching it “cook” right on my countertop for a few days. My few tweaks: swapping in fennel fronds for dill, adding some dried pickling spices I had (which I wouldn’t bother with again) and adding both a few cloves of new garlic along with the scapes. I wouldn’t bother quartering, or even halving, Ray’s tiniest of kirbys next time. They’re small enough to leave whole.

They turned out bright and garlicky, sour and salty. Not exactly like the ones from my youth, but a transporting bite nonetheless.




Greatest Scapes

Garlic Scapes

Image credit: Dori Fern

by Dori Fern

I have no idea how ramps became such a fanatically-trendy allium. For my money and tastebuds, I’ll take garlic scapes any day. You should, too. Scapes will last in your fridge forever-ish, they’re heartier and less costly than those precious wild onions (not that it’s a contest) and a few scapes go a long way.  Plus, there’s an awful lot of easy and delicious things you can do with them.

These elegant-looking, curly garlic bulb tops have a fresh, herbaceous quality that’s lighter and less earthy than the bulbs, which makes scapes a fine add on to any variety of dishes or pan sauces or soups, imparting them with a bit of texture and zippy garlic flavor. My first piece of advice about using scapes: Get creative. I can’t imagine they’d hurt any savory dish you’d try them in. Some inspiration certainly can’t hurt though.

This was my breakfast yesterday…and the day before that:

Scrambled Eggs with Garlic Scapes, Tomato & Ricotta Salata
Serves 1

Sauté 3 finely-chopped garlic scapes in some butter or olive oil for about a minute, add 1/2 chopped tomato (or don’t), a pinch of paprika (or not), then add 2-3 eggs–depending on your appetite–salt & pepper to taste.   Scramble soft then mix in some crumbled ricotta salata or feta or goat cheese…your choice.

Today for lunch I had this Fried Fish over Garlic Scape, Tomato and Baby Arugula Salad:

Fried Fish over Garlic Scape, Tomato and Baby Arugula Salad

Fried Fish over Garlic Scape, Tomato and Baby Arugula Salad. Image credit: Dori Fern

Isn’t it pretty?

Sauté 4 chopped garlic scapes with the other 1/2 of the tomato from yesterday’s scrambled eggs. Cook a minute or so, then place over a bed of Ray’s baby arugula, adding salt and pepper to taste, a shpritz of lemon juice and a drizzle of good olive oil. The fried fish tops off the dish.

To make the fish: I used Ling Tail from Gabe the Fish Babe, a meaty, ocean-water fish that tastes like a cross between cod and fresh sardines, sold at the Park Slope Food Coop. Any white fish would do, as would fresh sardines. Dip fish in paprika and black pepper-seasoned flour, shake off the excess flour then pan fry til brown, about two minutes per side. Finish with salt.

The next thing I plan to make is this Garlic Scape with Almond Pesto from Dorie Greenspan (who also recommends adding the raw scapes to tuna or chicken–or, I would add,  salmon or egg or, come to think of it, potato–salads).

The possibilities are endless but, alas, the season is not, so visit your nearest Bradley Farm stand this week and fill up a bag. You’ll thank me.