After I collected my harvest of garlic scapes, I proceeded to wash and drain them. The next step was to trim and discard the tough tips, just above the bud; the stems and buds may be kept whole for grilling, or cut into manageable sections to cook in the kitchen:
The curved shape of the stem and pointy tip resemble a short whip, or chicotillo, a name for the scape, in Spanish, also called escapos. I trimmed and sectioned all my scapes (counted about 65). Then, I bundled a few sections together at a time, and sliced them into pieces of around one inch in length:
I had about four cups; at this point it is possible to use theses sections as a vegetable, either blanched or to stir-fry, but I usually just make them into a paste, which I use as a condiment instead of garlic, or to mix with other ingredients into garlic flavoured sauces.
Basic Garlic Scape Paste
Ingredients (for approximately 3 cups)
4 cups washed and sliced garlic scapes, tough tips removed
1 cup almonds; blanched and chopped
1 1/3 cups extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste, or omit
Place all ingredients, except the oil, in a food processor or blender jar (photo below, left); pulse two or three times, and repeat, checking the mix in between (photos below, centre and right):
Continue, pushing the larger pieces to the bottom in between pulses, until a very fine grain is obtained; switch to continuous blending, and pour oil slowly to incorporate all ingredients into a paste:
Transfer to containers with lid; it may be kept in the refrigerator for one week, or stored in the freezer. I was not going to delay using some for my next recipe, so I poured one cup into a measuring cup, and packed the other two cups in containers:
For storing, it is a good idea to pour a little olive oil on top of the paste; it will form a film and help preserve the flavours:
If I wanted to prepare a pesto from here, I would process one cup of the basic paste with ¼ cup pine nuts, ¼ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and a few fresh basil leaves. However, I thought it would be interesting to prepare a paste with pumpkin seed for Mexican recipes, probably from my recent adventures with pipianes. When preparing green sauce with pumpkin seed, it is advisable to include ingredients that will enhance and preserve that colour; sometimes, high chlorophyll edibles such as spinach, radish leaf and parsley, are used in Mexican recipes, even if the purity of the flavours in the sauce might be somewhat sacrificed. Garlic is a common aromatic in many of these sauces, so my basic paste, with a mild garlic flavour and a bright green shade, seemed like the perfect taste and colour booster for a pumpkin seed paste.
Garlic Scape Paste with Pumpkin Seed
Ingredients (for approximately 1 ¼ cups)
1 cup basic garlic scape paste
¼ cup shelled pumpkin seed, preferably roasted and unsalted
4 tbsp water
Salt to taste, or omit
Place the shelled, roasted and unsalted pumpkin seed (photo below, left) in a spice/seed grinder (I have a dedicated coffee grinder for this purpose) and pulse until pulverized (photo below, right):
Mix the ground pumpkin seed with the water, adding a few drops at a time, to form a paste (photo below, left); mix with the basic garlic scape paste (photo below, right):
Continue mixing until uniform. I inhaled the blend of scents, from the seeds, and the garlic scape, without been overwhelming; the resulting paste still had a vibrant green tone from the garlic scape (some speckles are still visible, below), with the added texture and flavour from the pumpkin seed:
Now this rich paste needed good pumpkin-seed-based Mexican recipes to create my fusion dishes, and I think I found two that rose to the occasion. I used batches of my paste to prepare two different sauces, one for Yucatán inspired enchiladas (papatzules), and the other for fish filets and vegetables in green pipián. Including the recipes in this post would have made it too long, so I will share them separately in my next two posts.