Garlic Tart

Produce Profile: Garlic Scapes

If you are an avid gardener and grower of garlic, then you are no doubt familiar with garlic scapes. But if you are an urban dweller, you may have seen these serpentine-like stalks sold in bunches at your local farmer’s markets at the tail end of spring.

So what exactly is this green, semi-sturdy stalk that is popping up this time of year?

The garlic scape is a part of the hardneck garlic bulb’s growing season. A month or so after the first leaves of garlic begin to grow, the plant develops a curling stalk (known as the scape), which is tender, edible, and tastes—you guessed it—like garlic.

Most gardeners and farmers cut this stalk off when it is pliable, as letting the scape grow long and woody diverts the plant’s energies from developing a larger garlic bulb to growing a longer stalk or scape. So this culling process renders both a larger garlic bulb as an end result as well as a delicious and edible item of produce that is both seasonal and savory.

Although garlic scapes taste primarily of garlic, the flavour and aroma contained within the slender stalk is more delicate than the resulting bulb. Unlike mature garlic cloves, young garlic scapes can be eaten raw, as their flavour is more delicate and herbaceous than the bulb. The texture is akin to a thin asparagus or firm green bean, and the verdant freshness encapsulated in the stalk is reminiscent of scallions or chives; aromatic and distinct, but not overpowering or pungent.

Because they can be eaten both raw and cooked and their garlicky flavour is complimentary to many dishes, the uses for garlic scapes are plentiful. Below we’ve chosen to feature them in a Garlic Tart, though some alternative suggestions for maximizing this unique item of produce include:

• Sautéed with scrambled eggs

• Added to a frittata or quiche

• Smashed into a pesto

• Grilled as a side dish for a barbecue

• Tossed with a pasta

• Incorporated into a stir-fry

• Added to a green salad

• Incorporated into a soup or stock

• Blended into a dressing or vinaigrette

• As a topping for homemade pizza

• Pickled to extend the season

The season for garlic scapes is unfortunately short, ranging from late spring to early summer, so it is well worth the effort to source and savour these green seasonal delicacies.

Garlic Tart

A tart for garlic lovers, this recipe showcases the different stages of garlic growth, from sprout to immature corm to fully mature and dried bulb. This tart exemplifies the diversity of this staple ingredient. We ate it for dinner, but this light dynamic tart would be the perfect brunch accompaniment.

Tart Shell

Ingredients
1¼ cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup butter, chilled and cubed
¼ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons ice cold water

Special equipment
9-inch tart shell with removable bottom
Pastry weights or uncooked rice
Food processor

Method
In a food processor combine flour, butter, and salt. Pulse until just combined

Slowly dribble in the water and pulse until mixture just comes together and resembles a coarse meal

Turn out onto lightly floured surface and bring together into a ball

Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour, up to overnight

Once chilled, preheat oven to 350F

Turn out pastry onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to 1/8-inch thickness

Place in tart shell and place parchment or tinfoil over the dough and weigh down with rice or pastry weights

Blind bake for 15-20 minutes

Remove from oven and let cool

Filling

Ingredients
3 medium green garlic bulbs, diced
½ cup garlic scapes, diced on a bias
¾ cup smooth ricotta
½ cup mild goat cheese
2 egg yolks
Olive oil for sautéing
Salt and pepper
Picada:
15 blanched almonds
1 slice of bread
2 large garlic cloves

Special equipment
Mortar and pestle

Method
Begin by making the picada, a typical Spanish ingredient/technique used to thicken sauces and stews

Preheat oven to 400F

On a parchment-lined baking sheet place the almonds

Roast for 8-12 minutes, or until the almonds begin to take on an amber-roasted colour

Remove from oven and let cool

Set a frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Once oil is shimmering, fry the slice of bread on either side until golden brown

Remove from pan and let cool and chop into small pieces

In a mortar and pestle grind the 2 cloves of garlic, fried bread, almonds and a pinch of salt until it forms a paste. You may need to add a dash more olive oil

Set a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the diced green garlic for about 5 minutes, and then add the garlic scapes and sauté for one more minute, remove from heat and let cool

Preheat oven to 375F

In a medium bowl, whisk together both cheeses, egg yolks, picada, green garlic and garlic scapes, season with a pinch of salt and pepper

Pour filling into the tart shell and bake for 20-30 minuets, or until the filling is set, as in it doesn’t jiggle

Let cool for 30 minuets, slice and serve

Camille Llosa
Camille Llosa is a freelance writer and editor who is food-obsessed. She holds a degree in Print Journalism from Sheridan College and her work focuses on finding the connections between our everyday common experiences and how they can impact our life, wellbeing, perception, and purpose.