Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Great E-Scapes


Great news, food fans, I've found a great usage for the garlic scapes!

There is a very basic Mexican-style scrambled eggs recipe I've got in Bayless' Mexican Everyday book. Very basically, it's saute├ęd onions for about five minutes*, garlic for mere seconds, chopped tomatoes (with juice) on high until almost completely boiled off, then add your eggs, scramble, and serve with warm tortillas (and serve in a pig with perhaps a margarita, just like my masthead picture!).

*now there is a 'fantastic' digression here on the details of how you treat these ingredients. With onions there are those who tend to keep the heat below medium and cook for ten minutes our longer to get them soft and sweet, and those who keep the heat just above medium to get a caramelized outer while the inner portion of the diced onion still has some 'bite' to it. I tend towards the former and I've even seen reproductions of recipes on line where they change a five minute cooktime for onions to ten minutes for this very reason. However with this scramble you've got a lot of soft components to it; the eggs and the cooked-down tomato. Mix up the texture by keeping your onions a little bit sharp.

And speaking of tomatoes I might as well start to explain one of my foibles. I don't ever buy fresh tomatoes from the grocery store. I either buy canned tomatoes, or I pluck fresh tomatoes from my victory garden in the backyard. My tomatoes (*and I would assume any farmers market tomatoes) have such a better flavor, that I don't waste my money on flat-tasting tomatoes.

For this recipe I used a 14oz can of fire-roasted tomatoes, but regular canned ones would work, and perhaps even 'fresh' ones from the grocery-store; since we are cooking them on very-high heat until no water is left in the pan you are concentrating the flavors to an incredible effect; as a result, I only season the eggs with salt and a little bit of pepper. It doesn't need any thing else.

Which brings us to the garlic scapes! Normally a chopped clove of garlic just gets lost in the other stronger flavors of this recipe. But scapes aren't normal garlic. So after a minute or two, I added chopped scapes to the chopped onions. Cooked those for five minutes, added tomatoes and increased the heat to cook them down, beat two eggs with salt, pepper and a tablespoon (or two) of water, reduced heat and poured the eggs over the top, stirring occasionally.

This worked. It can take a large number of scapes at a time, it still only gives a hint of garlic with the other strong flavors, and you don't feel like you're wasting your precious local CSA vegetables.

Coming up this week: It came from the garden! (picture related)

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