Throw them into your next grilled or stir-fried dish and wait for the magic to happen.

By Margaret Eby
June 24, 2019
Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Christina Daley; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners

Garlic scapes are some of the unsung heros of the farmers' market in early summer. Among all the berries and melons and summer squashes, garlic scapes are often overlooked. But if you remember to grab a bunch of garlic scapes, you won't be sorry. They're an excellent aromatic element to add to your dishes, particularly if you're planning to do something either on the grill or in a wok—that kind of high-temperature, quick-cooking does wonders for scapes. 

If you're not sure where to start with scapes, a stir-fry is a great option. It'll infuse the rest of the contents of your pan or wok with its garlic flavor without being super aggressive.  Szechuan Beef with Garlic Scapes, for example, is the thing that I always actually want when I order Chinese takeout. The trick here is to coat the beef in a mixture of cornstarch and egg before you stir-fry it, to give it that succulent, crispy exterior. You cook the beef up separately, then add scapes, onion, and chiles to the pan to cook for just a few minutes before adding a cooking liquid made of beef stock and mirin, and adding the beef back in at the end to preserve its texture. The garlic plays off the umami flavors in the beef and the zip of the chile for the spicy-garlicky-savory stir-fry of your dreams.

Maybe you don't dream about stir-fry, or you'd prefer something that doesn't have red meat in it. Fair enough! Scapes are also really delicious grilled in a bright summer salad, like this Lemony-Herb Chicken with Grilled Garlic Scapes Salad. The dressing has a touch of garlic in it that echoes the milder flavor you get when garlic scapes hit the heat of the grill or grill pan for a few minutes. Combined with grilled chicken thighs, cherry tomatoes, corn, and cucumber, it makes for a bright, flavorful, and light summer meal. Dinner? Lunch? Both? It's all in your hands. Just don't forget the scapes. 

Get the recipe for Szechuan Beef with Garlic Scapes.

Get the recipe for Lemony-Herb Chicken with Grilled Garlic Scapes Salad.

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