Farmers Market Finds...
My town has recently revamped our farmer’s market and although it’s small, we have a wonderful selection of local fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, fresh pasta, honey, and even wine from a local winery. I love a farmer’s market in the summer – it’s so nice to chat with other people who are passionate about good food, and there’s something about knowing where your food came from, and who grew it, that makes it taste so much better.
It’s always kind of a treat for a nutritionist to discover a new food, and a few weeks ago I found something I’d never seen before – garlic scapes. The mess of green, curly, onion-like strands were piled up on quite a few tables in the market, so I had to ask about them.
I found out that garlic scapes are the "flower stalks" of hardneck garlic plants, and they are available for only a few short weeks at the beginning of the summer- here in New England at least (OK I’m a bit late publishing this post). They have to be removed from the garlic plant, so that it can direct its energy into making a better bulb.
Not quite sure how to eat them, I asked my local organic farmer, who promised that they would be tender with a mild taste of garlic and great sautéed in some olive oil, or used raw in salads or pesto.
I planted some Thai basil this year, along with my regular Italian basil, so I thought I’d experiment with the herbs, scapes and honey, and this Thai Basil Pesto that I came up with was a hit.
I tossed it with pasta, added some raw shredded carrots, colorful peppers, and scallions, and topped it with grilled shrimp. I’m kind of sad that I have to wait another year for garlic scapes, but this recipe will work with regular garlic cloves as well.
Thai Basil Pesto
- 1 ½ cups Thai basil or Italian basil leaves
- ½ cup cilantro leaves and stems
- 2 cups baby spinach leaves
- 12 garlic scapes or 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 bunch scallions
- 1 hot pepper Serrano, jalapeño etc
- 2 teaspoon minced ginger
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup unsalted peanuts or cashews
- 2 Tbs fresh lime juice
- 1 Tbs fish sauce
- 1 Tbs low sodium soy sauce
- 1 Tbs honey
- kosher salt to taste
- Place all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth.
- Add salt to taste.
- If a thinner consistency is desired, add additional olive oil.
Have you discovered any new foods at the farmer’s market?