Serious Eats: Recipes

The Crisper Whisperer: Garlic Scape Tart

[Photograph: Carolyn Cope]

I have an affinity for garlic scape pesto that borders on the unnatural. Although I've previously suggested to you that there are at least seven worthwhile things to do with garlic scapes, the truth is that I rarely care to do anything with them myself besides whiz them with nuts, cheese, lemon, and olive oil in a food processor and eat them with a spoon. This inclination may be due to the fact that, in my heart of hearts, I seem to believe that I invented garlic scape pesto. (It's similar to the way I seem to believe that I invented the food blog, despite substantial late-breaking evidence to the contrary. But those are stories for another time, such as never.)

The more convincing thing that garlic scape pesto has going for it, which many other scapely preparations lack, is that the scapes are raw. When subjected to intense heat, scapes quickly lose their characteristic pungency and transform into a much milder, practically bean-like vegetable. It's not that there's anything wrong with a bean-like vegetable, mind you. It's just that, to me, raw scapes are special largely because they manage to communicate both mild-manneredness and assertiveness at the same time.

Still, there's no question that the optimal amount of garlic is highly contextual and situation-specific. Not every occasion is a garlic scape pesto occasion. For example, if you will be interacting with other people today, interviewing for a promising job tomorrow, or generally not looking forward to the possibility of sweating profusely, it may not be a garlic scape pesto occasion. In such instances, the garlic scape tart may be a more appropriate choice.

This garlic scape tart occupies a happy medium between raw and aggressively cooked scapes. The sliced scapes are baked gently in a custard of fresh ricotta and eggs, mellowing their intensity without obliterating their freshness. Combined with the lemon thyme, the scapes produce a positively aromatic filling that floats on top of the hearty crust.

About the author: Carolyn Cope is the voice behind the popular food blog Umami Girl. In late July, she'll trade the life of a CSA manager in New Jersey for the lively farmers' markets of London. Find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Teff crust adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine.

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