Have any of you ever grown your own garlic? It’s my first year growing my own, half a dozen bulbs of Russian red garlic, and I am so excited about it. (and not just because when it’s ready to harvest I can braid the dried stalks together and mount it on the wall of my pantry all rustic-style- but it helps)
A few weeks back I noticed some slim, curved little buds springing up from the middle of my garlic stalks and realized- I had garlic scapes! (One of the trendiest, most intriguing “it” ingredients I had yet to try!) I pointed them out to my mum and rushed into the house to fetch a knife to harvest them. I passed the knife to her as she climbed into to the potting box, and then ran back to the house to get my camera- garden bounty pictures! (hey, I’m a food blogger, it’s a thing I am allowed to get excited about)
Mum: “I threw them over the fence…”
Finn: (screams internally)
You see, my yard backs on to a wild forest of tall weeds, trees and brambles. It’s great having no back neighbour, it’s quiet and peaceful and lovely, but suffice to say… the scapes were not coming back.
I can’t fault her for this, our conversation about the buds did mostly revolve around a) identifying them as scapes and b) concluding that they needed to be cut so that the bulb would continue to grow. I, foolishly, just assumed she was as big a food nerd as me (why would I ever assume that?) and would know that scapes=foodie heaven.
So, I lost my first batch of homegrown scapes to the nether over the fence. Oh, well. Mum more than made up for it the next day when she found scapes at the local market and snapped them up for me. (Thanks Mum!)
First order of business- scape pesto! Garlic scapes make brilliant pesto since they are wonderful and garlicy, but not overwhelmingly so, and have an almost a citrusy undertone. Pretty much everything I had dreamed they would be. Put everything in a food processor for a minute or two and ta-da- done!
I went through a couple iterations through the food processor before I settled on my desired flavour and consistency and I encourage you to do the same. Balancing the flavours with fresh scapes is a little different from straight basil pesto, but just as rewarding (see also: Cilantro Pesto).
Of course, now that I had this magic sauce, I couldn’t exactly mask it with too many extra ingredients. Less is more, let’s not gild the lily!
Fresh tomatoes, still on the vine (although don’t feel like you have to use on-the-vine), blistered up. Perfect. Blistering tomatoes is one of my favourite new ways to eat this seasonal beauty, cooked just enough to create a burst of flavour as you bite into them.
Compliment of all compliments, my sister compared this simple pizza to the ones she enjoyed in Italy. Considering she lived there for a year, this is a gal who knows her ‘zza.
Needless to say, this tasty seasonal treat is going be in heavy rotation this summer.
|Blistered Caprese Pizza with Garlic Scape Pesto|| |
- Garlic Scape Pesto:
- 8 garlic scapes, coarsely chopped
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup olive oil
- Pizza Dough:*
- 1⅓ cups warm water
- 2¼ tsp instant yeast
- 3¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Olive oil
- 1 punnet cherry tomatoes
- Fresh bocconcini, torn
- 1 small bunch fresh basil, coarsely chopped
- Balsamic reduction
- To make dough: Preheat oven to 200°F. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine water and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes until yeast has dissolved and mixture is frothy. Add in flour, sugar, salt, and olive oil; knead on a low speed for 5-10 minutes until dough has formed. It should be elastic and pull away from the sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled bowl; cover with aluminum foil, and place bowl in the oven. TURN OVEN OFF. Let the dough rise in the warm oven for about 2 hours until it has doubled in size. Divide into two balls of dough, then use one for the remainder of this recipe. (Prepare another pizza with the second ball of dough, or store in the fridge for another night.)
- To make the pesto, put all pesto ingredients in a food processor and blitz until the desired consistency paste forms.
- Add a glug of olive oil to a large, heavy bottomed pan and heat on high. Add tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, flipping once or twice, until the skin becomes brown/black and blistered.
- Remove dough from oven, place a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet into the oven. Crank the heat on the oven up to 500 degrees. Let the stone heat for at least 30 minutes in the oven.
- Dust a flat surface with some coarse semolina and stretch out the portion of pizza dough you will be using. Take the heated pizza stone/tray out of the oven and transfer the dough directly on to it. This will cause the dough to start cooking right away, ensuring a nice and crispy crust.
- Spread a thin layer of garlic scape pesto on the crust, top with torn bocconcini and bake until crust is golden and cheese is melted, approximately 8-12 minutes.
- Remove pizza from oven, top with blistered cherry tomatoes, fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.