Why It Works
- Tossing garlic scapes with oil prevents them from drying out and ensures they do not stick to the grill grate.
- Cooking garlic scapes on the grill caramelizes and chars the exterior, while keeping the interior crisp.
I love garlic, and this fondness extends to garlic scapes, the green curlicue stalks that erupt from the top of a garlic bulb. These stalks, which have a mild allium flavor on par with scallions or chives, can be used in many ways. You can make them into a versatile pesto, whip them into a creamy hummus, or purée them into a soup. Another easy way to showcase scrapes is to toss them on the grill. Rubbed with olive oil and seasoned with just salt and pepper, the charred scapes are soft yet crisp, sweet, and slightly spicy.
Even though this recipe is simple enough, I tested to see if it was worth the time and effort to blanch the scapes first in hopes of both softening the sometimes woody stalks and reducing their cooking time on the grill. I trimmed away any hard, dry bits before quickly cooking them in boiling water. To my surprise, the blanched grilled scapes were limp and not very flavorful. I much preferred straight-up grilled scapes―the shoots were tender, garlicky, and everything I wanted in a grilled scape.
To grill garlic scapes, I toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper (you can add another seasoning like curry powder or red pepper flakes if you want), and spread them out on the hot side of a grill, flipping them frequently to ensure they get well-charred all over. While they’re cooking, I like to char a halved lemon alongside. Finished with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, the grilled scapes pair well with a number of dishes.
- 1 pound (455g) garlic scapes, woody ends trimmed
- 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lemon, halved crosswise (optional)
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over half of the coal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. If using a gas grill, preheat half the grill to high.
In a large bowl, toss scapes with 2 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Add scapes to hot side of grill and cook, turning frequently, until tender and well-charred all over, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, if desired, place lemon halves cut side down on hot side of grill and cook until charred, about 3 minutes. Transfer scapes to a large serving plate, drizzle with remaining olive oil, squeeze lemon over top (if desired), and serve immediately.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Grilled garlic scapes are best enjoyed immediately.