I first saw these at my friend Margie’s house where we’d been invited for dinner and she’d harvested them from her garden. The tops looked edible so she broke off a piece, tasted and decided she’d work them into dinner somehow because they seemed a shame to waste.
She was making tempura asparagus and ended up doing the same with the garlic tops. They were great. A light garlic flavor, with a crunchy sweet freshness. I ended upbringing a bag of them home and did a little research to learn more about them.
When first growing in early summer, the stalks, called scapes, spiral up and curl. The very tops of the stalks slim down to delicate tendrils. They are actually the flower stalks of the garlic, which we discovered are edible and delicious. If not cut off and just left, the curly stalks will straighten and grow small seed-like bulbs. For eating, you need to cut the scapes when they are curly and tender. In addition, cutting them off helps the growth of the garlic bulb growing under the ground.
I decided to grill mine. Rubbed with a little olive oil and home made rosemary sea salt Shankari had given me, they were again delightful with a smoky character. Additionally, you can cut them up and add to stir fry, sauté and add to frittata, make them into pesto (I want to try this), mince and add into scrambled eggs, omelets, salsa, soups and sauces. Apparently these gems are a culinary treasure valued in Korean, Chinese, Thai, Polynesian, and coastal French cuisine. I’ll definitely be looking for them in the future.