fun at the farmer’s market and garlic scape pistachio pesto

Brian and I made our first trip of the year to the local Dupont Farmer’s Market on Sunday. I love wandering, weaving in and out of the stands, taking in the produce, flowers, herbs, meats, cheeses, jams, milk, eggs, empanadas, pies, soaps, etc. I think Brian was more interested in the puppies than the goods, but we both enjoyed our stroll through the street on that beautiful Sunday morning. I love that everything there is fresh, hand-cut/picked, homemade, etc. They keep it real.

We picked up some rhubarb, baby leeks, and garlic scapes. Three things I’ve never before bought or cooked with. New territory. I got the baby leeks to make this pan-fried chickpea salad with curry yogurt dressing. I printed this recipe from Heidi’s blog last month, but only this weekend got around to making it. And yum, I will definitely be making it again. I followed the recipe closely, except I used garlic scapes instead of garlic, and added some diced cucumber to the yogurt dressing. Next time I’ll go lighter on the cilantro. It made for a light, fresh, delicious lunch.

Dinner was mahi mahi with garlic scape pesto. Garlic scapes make me happy. I’d never before seen them in person, only in pictures on food blogs. They drew me in at the market with their long curly bodies that were all twisted and tangled up in themselves reminding me of a curly haired toddler waking up from her nap. I couldn’t resist buying some.

After some quick internet searching for what to do with these tasty little treasures, I settled on garlic scape pesto. Most of the recipes I found called for almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, or brazil nuts. I used pistachios. I also added some kale in an attempt to cut the garlic flavor. The descriptions of the recipes I found led me to believe garlic scapes have a milder, brighter flavor than garlic. Well, they do, but this pesto is still one of the most garlicky things I have ever eaten. Lots of zing. Imagine pesto made with regular garlic, knocked down just a notch or two. A little bit goes a long way.

But don’t let that deter you from making this tasty pesto, especially if you are a garlic lover.  I thought the pistachios gave it a nice nutty flavor, and the kale provided some balance to the garlic. You could also use basil or parsley but kale is what I happened to have on hand.

garlic scape pistachio pesto

6-8 garlic scapes, pointy ends removed and coarsely chopped
1-2 large handfuls of chopped kale
1/3-1/2 cup pistachios
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup of olive oil (or more or less depending on how thick you like your pesto)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Throw the garlic scapes, kale, and pistachios into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Add the cheese and pulse a few times to blend.

With the processor on low, add the oil slowly until the pesto has the desired consistency. 

Season with salt and pepper to taste (note: I used salted pistachios, and I didn’t need to add any additional salt).

What to do with all this pesto? I loved it on fish, and we had it on pasta last night. I made the pesto relatively thick, so I thinned it out with more olive oil and a little bit of water for the pasta. I can also imagine it thinned with olive oil and lemon juice as a salad dressing, or spread on toasted gluten free bread for garlic toast, with cheese and crackers, or on pizza. And since garlic scapes are only available for a few weeks, I will likely freeze some scapey pesto to enjoy later this summer.

I’m not sure yet what to do with the rhubarb, but I’m thinking either strawberry rhubarb compote to top my Greek yogurt for breakfast, or maybe strawberry lemon rhubarb bars. But mostly because it’s fun to say “rhubarb bar”.

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