Going to the Farmer’s Market this early in the season can feel a little like the movie Groundhog Day, each week bringing you new lettuce and herbs. While July and August bring with it an abundance of variety, it takes a while for the produce to ramp up (no onion pun intend). But there are goodies laced throughout. Certainly enough to inspire even the most novice cook to prepare a lovely, nourishing, Farmer’s Market Feast.
In fact, there are two little gems that are in their prime right now – the garlic scape and the new potato. The former is a little weird looking. Tough to the touch, almost like a bean with bulbous connections and pointy heads, it’s only in recent years that these beautifully scented stems, a by-product of growing garlic, have become the Foodies new BFF. I’m not going to lie… the scapes I’m using tonight? They were a gift from a dear friend who has a massive community garden and more scape than she can handle (Thank you, Heather). But I love them so much that I’m actually going to use the ones I picked up today in some pickles. Need more inspiration? Check this out.
Then there is the new potato. If you haven’t yet tried them out then let me tell you… Don’t. Those of us that have discovered this buttery, slightly waxy, easily crisped up early-season wonder really don’t want to share with you (but we will!). Nearly every produce stall is filled with them, though strolling the market, it feels like you can tell which ones were actually pulled from the ground recently and which ones might have been a quick pick up from Save-On on the way to the market.
So today, upon arriving at the market, tasked with inspiring you all to make something wonderful for dinner, I found myself holding my two favourite gems… and… nothing else. I scanned the market and my eyes landed on the woman I lovingly refer to as “The Beef Lady.” I know, Foodie-Fashion-Faux-Pas of the last few years, red meat isn’t on everyone’s diet these days. But it is on mine, and my Dedicated Food Eater (husband) hasn’t had a T-Bone in recent memory. So, I pick up the steak, a head of romaine, some Little Qualicum Blue, and a loaf of ciabatta. Happy with my spoils, I am on my way home, truly giddy at the prospect of making dinner.
Here’s the menu:
- Pan seared T-bone, with shiitake mushrooms (not from the market) and LQ blue cheese
- Roasted baby new potatoes, simply done in salt and pepper
- Caesar Salad, sans croutons
- Garlic Scape Toast
Now, I’m not going to tell you how to do your steak (I like Blumenthall’s method), or publish a full tutorial on how to roast potatoes (I do them in the oven at 450 on roast for just under an hour, quartered if they are big, with olive oil, salt and pepper), and everyone has their thoughts on Caesar Salad (I’m partial to something like this). But what I will share with you, my New West neighbours, is my Garlic Scape Pesto.
Garlic Scape Pesto
- 1 bunch of garlic scape (or a handful if there happens to be a basket you’re grabbing from)
- Red Chili Flake
- 1-2 tbsp Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
- 1-2 Tbsp Lukewarm Water (if required)
- Salt & Pepper
In a food processor or a magic bullet with the ice-shaving blade (my favourite because who wants to clean an entire food processor?), put in all the ingredients except the oil and water. Puree, adding oil slowly to the mix. If using a bullet (because they are surprisingly awesome), start with about 2 tablespoons of oil in the mix. Puree until chunky but not smooth. You want some texture. Add water to loosen the mix if required (depends on the scapes).
Tonight, I’m spreading it on toast, but I’ve used it on sandwiches, in salsas, pastas, and even as a soup base added to a mirepoix. The scape has a bit of an earthy flavor like nothing else. Get it, make it, freeze it after a few days in an ice cube tray and enjoy year round.
Shout outs to “The Beef Lady” at Outwest Ranches, Little Qualicum Cheese, Bose Family Farms, Zaklan Farms and of course, A Bread Affair, which provided the canvas for our Garlic Scape Toast.