It’s spring in the Pacific NW, and that means garlic scape is having its short run at local grocery stores and farmers markets. Garlic scape, or green garlic, are the flower stalks of garlic plants. When I lived in Portland the first time around, I used to look forward to their very short season. I would simply steam them and eat the stalks like asparagus. I never found garlic scape in California, although admittedly, I never looked beyond my local farmers market. However, in Portland they seem to be everywhere, and by everywhere I mean at a Portland-based grocery store chain and my neighborhood farmers market.
In celebration of living back in the land where garlic scape is (somewhat) ubiquitous, I decided to make a garlic scape soup. It was time to up the ante, and rather than steam them like I used to, making a soup seemed like a rightfully grown up thing to do.
This recipe comes from a cookbook by the name of Super Natural Cooking that was gifted to me by a friend a few years back. Every recipe I’ve tried from this book has been over the top delicious.
So what are you waiting for? Get down to the farmers market or your specialty grocery store and pick up some garlic scape and make this beautifully satisfying ode to spring.
My kitchen notes
If you can’t find garlic scape, try green garlic as a substitute.
I find that adding heavy cream gives it a rich texture, but if you’re not into dairy, don’t worry, it will still taste great without.
Garlic Scape Soup – adapted from Super Natural Cooking
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 dozen garlic scapes, flower buds discarded and green shoots chopped
3 large russet potatoes, unpeeled and cut into ½ inch dice
5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
2 large handfuls of spinach leaves, stemmed
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup heavy cream (optional)
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the scapes and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the diced potatoes and stock, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through and beginning to break down.
2. Remove from the heat, add the spinach, and puree using an immersion blender. (If you must use a conventional blender, be careful; the hot liquid can burst out the top and make a huge, potentially painful mess. Try leaving the lid slightly ajar to allow steam to escape. Cover the top with a kitchen towel and blend in batches at low speed.)
3. Season with the lemon juice, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Whisk in the cream for a silkier texture. If the soup tastes flat, add salt a few big pinches at a time until the flavors really pop.