Farm-fresh finds: Local garlic scapes freshen up traditional pesto
How's your summer going? Mine has been glorious, full of new and interesting vegetables picked up on sunny Saturdays at the North Adams farmers market.
My husband and I wake up early, have coffee on the deck of our new house, then head down to the parking lot across from Mass MoCA to see what we're filling our bags with this week.
This is our first experience with community supported agriculture, and we're loving it. Knowing the people growing your food certainly provides extra motivation to use every last bit of it, and so far, nothing has gone to waste.
It's not my first experience with local agriculture, though; you might remember that I spent last summer visiting Berkshire farmers for my column in Berkshires Week, "In Their Field," which often included a recipe. I am happy to be back in The Eagle, now once a month on the food page, to share my best farm-fresh recipes with you.
This week, our farmers, Michael Gallagher and Ashley Amsden of Square Roots Farm in Lanesborough, offered take-what-you-want garlic scapes as part of our share, and I crammed quite a lot of them into my reusable bag with the intention of making garlic scape pesto. It's a little tangier than pesto and retains a beautiful, bright green color.
You can freeze it for a couple of months, which is great when you have to eat your way through a mountain of leafy greens.
We ate it twirled around some standard linguini with some cannellini beans for extra protein. Later this week, I think I'm going to use it on a pizza or rub it on some salmon.
Garlic Scape Pesto
Makes around 112-2 cups
15-20 garlic scapes, roughly chopped
1 cup grated parmesan
5 tablespoons olive oil (or add more to taste)
4 tablespoons pine nuts
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Throw ingredients in your food processor (you can use an immersion blender, too) and pulse until mixture becomes smooth. Use on pasta immediately, or freeze in a plastic container (or make pesto ice cubes, if that's your thing, and store them in a freezer bag).
Another thing I made this week was roasted beet hummus -- one of my favorite hummus varieties. The roasted beets make the hummus extra velvety -- and deep pinkish purple. Summer food should look summery, I think.
Roasted Beet Hummus
3 beets, peeled and rubbed with salt and olive oil (reserve beet greens for another time -- they're great simply sauteed)
2 cans chickpeas
1 tablespoon tahini
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon cumin
Pinch of salt or more to taste
Preheat oven to 350. Place beets in a dish and roast for 30 minutes or until soft. Let cool, then chop roughly.
Rinse chickpeas. In a large bowl, stir chickpeas, chopped beets, oil, tahini, cumin and salt; process with food processor or immersion blender until all beets are incorporated and texture is smooth (no beet flecks or chunks!).
Serve with crackers, veggies, flatbread, etc.
I ate some over a salad with CSA lettuce, quinoa and leftover grilled corn on Monday; it was really good and really filling.
I'll be sharing my best farm-fresh recipes with you every month from now on. Supporting our farmers is integral to this community, and it doesn't have to be expensive, laborious or daunting.
If you've got a good recipe, I'd love to hear it! Email me at Francesca.B.Olsen@gmail.com.