by Heather Johansen
Farmers’ markets are a goldmine for weird but wonderful ingredients. Since I’ve stepped away from the supermarket and into buying my produce at Kingsland, I have discovered so many ingredients that I didn’t even know existed. A new-to-me ingredient holds a certain allure. If I see something that looks interesting, I feel compelled to research it, find recipes and create something I can call my own.
One such ingredient is the garlic scape. I spotted these strange looking coils at the Lund’s booth a few weeks ago. After some internet research, I learned that garlic scapes are the curly green tops of the garlic plant. You can use them similarly to asparagus – they can be eaten raw or cooked. If you’re a garlic lover, you’ll really appreciate its milder garlic flavour and your friends will appreciate the lack of lingering affects on your breath… Everyone is happy!
A popular way to use garlic scapes is to feature it in a pesto. This sauce traditionally stars basil and pine nuts but you can use any combination of herbs & nuts or seeds that you want. My garlic scape pesto uses parsley and walnuts because they pair well with the beautiful Hoven Farms grass fed flank steak. This is a quick meal that packs a lot of flavour.
Grilled Flank Steak with Garlic Scape Pesto
- 1 cup garlic scapes, bulbs removed and stalks chopped
- 1 cup Italian parsley leaves
- ¼ c walnuts, chopped & toasted
- 1/3 – 1/2 c grated good quality parmesan cheese
- Juice of 1 lemon (~1/4 cup)
- ½ tsp each kosher sea salt and black pepper
- 5 tbsp (or more) extra virgin olive oil
For the pesto: Place all ingredients except olive oil into a food processor. Turn on the processor and slowly drizzle the olive oil into the bowl, stopping to scrape down the sides, if necessary. Continue to process until the ingredients are combined. Season with additional salt & pepper, if desired. Makes ~1 cup pesto.
For the steak: Preheat the barbeque. Season both sides of your flank steak with kosher salt, pepper and steak spice. Grill each side for about 5 minutes. Aim for medium rare – You do not want to overcook this cut of meat or it will be tough. Remove from heat and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. Spread about ¼ cup of pesto on top of the steak and then cut it against the grain in thin slices.
I served the pesto steak with a salad featuring sweet and white potatoes (from Greens, Eggs & Ham), Broxburn cherry tomatoes, celery, toasted walnuts and arugula, all tossed in a walnut- tarragon vinaigrette. Delicious.