Zucchini Garlic Scape Pesto

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Zucchini Garlic Scape Sauce

I was bursting at the seams to share something that developed in my kitchen last Friday night. I meant to share this right away, but then I thought I might redo it and make it prettier. But when I had the scapes, I didn’t have the zucchini and when I finally had the zucchini I didn’t have the scapes any longer and ended up making another chocolate zucchini cake.

So here is my original original. Original recipe made the first time in a hurry after working all day, but foodie enough to still cook my own food.

We have all been here, staring inside the refrigerator, half thinking of ordering pizza, and yet nudged by the bounty that needs to be consumed. There was still produce left from last Saturday’s Farmers Market run, and it’s just not like me to throw good food away, especially organically cultivated. I meant to saute the various zucchini squash early in the week. And, I meant to make my first garlic scapes into “something.” I just didn’t know what that “something” would be…..

And then brilliance hit me and a marriage between the zucchini and scapes took place.

I have never purchased, eaten or cooked garlic scapes, but in food blog world, we eat everything, and we get nudged to try new things. I researched recipes and saw a scape pesto made as one would make a basil pesto, but somehow I wanted something more practical. We have a garden full of basil and I have this prideful disposition to create my own thing. But, the world benefits from this right? After all someone somewhere was the first person to put chocolate chips inside cookie dough. They had to be different and the world is a better place for it. Sorry to digress, but I just finished eating some zucchini chocolate chip cookies that I am going to tease you with, which you can find here tomorrow. (I am acting shameless today, like one of those home shopping network marketers).

Continuing…
Determined to eat the produce (so I could shop the next morning), I sliced each and every zucchini, and sauteed with one garlic clove and a single banana pepper.
WHY I LOVE ZUCCHINI.

When you allow zucchini to saute and you give it the time it deserves, it will reward you back with a unique sweetness that harmonizes well with a touch of sea salt, a sprinkle of cheese and anything with heat. You could stop right here and enjoy. But zucchini can be much more. Frankly, I believe zucchini is a very underestimated vegetable.

Zucchini Scape Pesto

And, now the scapes. As they whirled around the food processor, I added a bit of olive oil and salt, and saw a bright green pesto forming, but it needed something, so I picked up the largest pieces of sauteed zucchini and added them to the mixture. This was a “moment.” My taste buds were completely standing at attention. It was beautiful, flavorful, and I felt a triumphant moment of taking a new food (for me) and turning it into something special.

The spicy yet subtle garlicky taste of the scapes wrapped around the sweetness of the zucchini in a perfect holding of hands, just looking for a place to park.

Zucchini Scape – What to do with it

1. It can be a side dish
2. It can be further chopped and spread on crusty bread
3. It can be emulsified into a soup (with a bit of broth, milk, cream)
4. It can cover pasta or rice
5. It can hide between a blanket of pita bread
6. It can be layered inside lasagna
7. Whatever YOU decide….I’d like to hear about it

Recipe for Zucchini Garlic Scape Pesto

  • 6-8 zucchini (you can use any variety, mix it up), thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch garlic scapes
  • 1 banana pepper, seeded, diced
  • 1/3 cup olive oil (more or less)
  • Sea salt, cracked pepper
  • Few mint leaves (optional)

(if making pasta, reserve some pasta water and put it in)

  1. Salt zucchini, allow to sit for 20-30 minutes. Use paper towels to absorb moisture. This is not so important if the zucchini are small. For this recipe medium size is preferred, but it truly doesn’t matter. I used all sizes and types in this recipe.
  2. Saute all zucchini in olive oil on low heat, until soft, not mushy, but not crunchy. (not stir fry style).
  3. In a food processor, add chopped scapes (cut off ends., salt, pepper, banana pepper. Pulse until scapes seem as small as you can get them, adding olive oil a little at a time. Add in 1/4 to 1/2 cooked zucchini and process. You have to judge here if you need to have more olive oil, etc.
  4. Use as a sauce or spread, or Toss the remaining zucchini with the mixture and eat as side, in pasta or on rice.

Some ideas from other food bloggers:

Gluten Free Bay – Pesto with Pumpkin Seeds
Closet Cooking – Scape Shrimp Scampi
Becky and the Bean Stalk – Pickled Scapes

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