Momma Juliet’s Recipes

Mamma Juliet's Garlic Scape Pesto

The Husband and I grow our own garlic. This year (2024) we may have overdone it. We’re experimenting with three different kinds of garlic, looking for the one that has the largest, easiest to peel cloves, and a garlic taste that mellows well when cooked.

Last autumn, The Husband planted 126 garlic cloves. Each clove, when harvested about mid-July, will produce a head of garlic. Doing the math, you can easily see that no person of our acquaintance will ever be threatened by vampires.

As we wait for the garlic heads to mature, each plant produces a scape (which is very different from a Snape (think Harry Potter.) The scape grow out of the middle of the plant and, if left to itself, will become a garlic flower.

But we don’t want that; that diverts the plant’s energy from plumping the head. So we remove the scape…and cook it. Jayne Ann Krentz tosses them in olive oil, S&P and roasts them in a hot oven. I made pesto.

Garlic Scape Pesto

— 1 cup garlic scapes, which you can grow yourself or find at a farmer’s market  cut into 1-2 inch lengths (I don’t use the blossom ends, but Jayne adores them.)

— ½ cup basil leaves

— ¼ cup olive oil (use the good stuff)

— Juice of 1 lemon

— Nuts (I used walnuts, but I’ve seen recommendations for sunflower seeds, pine nuts, almonds…any nut is going to give it a richness)

— ½ cup Parmesan cheese, cut into chunks (which also provides salt.) I like parmesan cheese (and cheese in general) so I use a lot. Any hard cheese will provide the flavor and body you’re looking for!

— Pepper to taste

Place the scapes in the food processor and run it until you’ve got a uniform green. And it is green! Use a spatula to wipe the sides. Add the chunks of the parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, nuts and run it again. Wipe as needed; you’re looking for a paste. Add the basil; it grinds quickly.

I will confess, I also added spinach. The spinach I had planted was bolting, I figured with this combo of flavors no one would ever notice a few spinach leaves, so I added them. And honestly, if you know they’re there, you’ve got a better taster than I do.

Garlic scape pesto is a solid flavor bomb, so I suggest you divide into small portions and freeze it. I put individual servings in plastic sandwich bags, place those in a larger freezer bag, label it and freeze for later. Put a glob on hot pasta and toss, stir it into mayo and put it on sandwiches, add it to soup and beans, put a dab on a charcuterie plate and enjoy the magic. It’s a masterful addition to any recipe.

This is a recipe Mamma Juliet could indeed have made, albeit with a mortar and pestle rather than a food processor, and probably with a servant doing the grinding. That said, Juliet loves to cook for her family. Click the tab to enjoy this brief, family bonus chapter, and explore as Rosie continues to explore her world and be astonished by the richness and glamor of her home city, Verona.

Read an excerpt, the synopsis and reviews on the A DAUGHTER OF FAIR VERONA website page.

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