These funky looking guys are called garlic scapes, and I love them. It's an unnatural sort of love, for someone who finds the vegetable food group vaguely confusing. Nontheless, it is love.
When I first encountered them a few years ago, they were listed as Garlic Whistles, and that's still how I think of them, even though I can't find anything else that refers to them that way. I didn't know what they were or how to cook, so I don't honestly know why I got them. I don't remember what I made with them, but I remember a deep sense of devotion to them. I haven't seen them since. Turns out it's because garlic scapes are only around for the last two weeks of June. They are one of those things that you just can't get out of season and that you just can't quite substitute for.
These little guys are the shoots of the garlic bulb, just before it gets all hard and funky. They taste like garlicky asparagus. Since I had planned on making pizza that night, I decided to put them on there. I also found a recipe, completely on accident, for garlic scape pesto, and I'm quite please with that since I was looking for basil at the farmer's market and freaked out and bought these instead. I get to feel like I did that on purpose.
To put them on my pizza, I chopped them up on the diagonal, and sauteed them in a wee bit of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Despite being told that these should be cooked just like asparagus, they were still pretty tough after about 5 minutes, so I added a cube of chicken stock (I make, reduce, and freeze in ice cube trays) and covered it loosely to let them steam. I didn't want them perfectly cooked, so that the final cooking could happen under the cheese in the pizza.
I had some leftover chicken bits, and those and some mozarella and local farmer's cheese that was laying around (oh, and pizza dough from Whole Foods) and pizza happened!
I've had some struggles in my kitchen these past few weeks, so it was nice to make something that came from things around the house, not from super calculated we-don't-have-milk-or-a-potato-peeler-just-moved panic. I felt like something settled inside me as I pulled things together and created something. It was nice.The pizza wasn't perfect (mainly thanks to the glass effect of low-fat mozzarella...but I couldn't find the regular stuff anywhere), but it was totally mine. Now I can't wait to make me some garlic scape pesto...