Garlic scapes and chickpeas and tomatoes. Hooray!

Do you know about garlic scapes*? Everyone at work does now, because I snuck out and bought some and brought them back and the stench they created had people on the other side of the place, a wall and forty square feet away, come in asking if it was me who smelled like feet or stale kimchi or dying. It was, and it usually is because there’s a little produce market on campus where I buy cool things that sometimes turn out to, um, pong, but to be fair? Garlic scapes have a very limited season and I can’t be faulted for celebrating their arrival.

Weird how things that smell bad are always my fault, but I refuse to accept responsibility. Someone could use some therapy.

I hope I didn’t scare you off about the smell. Garlic scapes don’t stink. They have a real garlicky smell, and something else – chlorophyll or something – something green. Anything garlic or onion that you leave on the floor of your over-heating office for four hours is bound to fuss about it, you know? But they’re really quite lovely. A quick blanch or sauté is all they really need. There’s a place we go to on Main Street where you can order skewers of them wrapped in bacon and then grilled.

Last night for company they found their way into a salad. Apparently we’re into salads these days, though it’s not hot and currently outside I can see at least three shades of grey not counting the apartment buildings and alley out my window. And salad is what you have when you need a side dish for roast chicken and potatoes. Since Mark, married to Nick’s sister Jess, lives gluten-free, salad was doubly perfect.

I’m sure there will be much more garlic scapery yet – I bought four bunches in a burst of enthusiasm, and they’re living in a vase of water on my counter awaiting their garlicky destiny. But for now – a recipe for salad. Not boring salad. Garlic salad. I promise, you’ll totally love this.

Chickpea, tomato, and garlic scape salad

  • 1 19 oz. can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 to 3 cups cherry tomatoes, rinsed (sliced if they’re larger, whole if they’re bite-size and fantastic)
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped garlic scapes
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp. chopped basil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine chickpeas, tomatoes, and lemon zest and juice.

In a pan over medium-high heat, heat olive oil until shimmering. Add garlic scapes and red pepper flakes, and sauté until scapes turn bright green – about a minute. Pour the whole thing, oil included, over the other ingredients, tossing to coat. Chill for an hour.

Before serving, add basil, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasonings as needed.

It’s so pretty, and very bright-tasting. The oil picks up the garlicky taste of the garlic scapes, and as it chills with the lemon zest it develops a delightfully clean taste. This is a great picnic salad, and if there are leftovers you don’t have to worry about lettuce wilting or sucking the next day.

Also? PS? LOOK AT MY BABY RADISHES!

That is all. Happy Canada Day!

*These may be garlic chives. I have been operating under some confusion forever. Oh well? Garlic scapes should work the same.

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