Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cheese and Garlic Scape Muffins with Arugula Pesto

Featured Ingredient: Garlic Scapes

It’s been a rough year so far  in our community garden. April and May were crazy wet and I probably put in my tomatoes and peppers too early and they’re not looking very robust. But one thing that is present in spades are garlic scapes. 

While garlic bulbs are doing their thing below the fecund soil, the above ground stems grow and curl into garlic scapes that you can slice off without any harm to the maturing bulbs. Their texture is somewhat like that of a green bean but the flavor is unmistakable – think garlic but a little more mellow. You can often find them at farmers’ markets for really, really cheap. I tried freezing a bunch last year, but found that their flavor really suffers.

The most popular use for scapes is to make pesto, but they can really stand in for garlic cloves in a wide assortment of savory recipes such as these cheese infused muffins. Paired with this arugula scape pesto, these savory muffins are so delicious, especially when slightly warmed. Rosemary is growing well on our patio, so I made good use of it in the muffins.

Has anyone else found success in baking with garlic scapes?

Garlic and Cheese Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup neutral tasting oil or melted butter
3 garlic scapes, chopped finely
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, mix together flours, baking powder, rosemary, sugar and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in milk and oil or butter. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix gently. Fold in garlic scapes and cheese. Divide mixture among 12 muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top and a tester comes out clean. Let cool before unmolding.

Arugula Pesto

3 garlic scapes, chopped
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 cups arugula
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Juice of ½ lemon
Salt, to taste
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place scapes, pine nuts and arugula in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times until coarsely minced. Add cheese, salt and lemon juice and process until combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Through the feed tube add olive oil while processing until fully combined.

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