A First Encounter with Garlic Scapes

It was my mom’s birthday this past weekend, prescription so I took it upon myself to explore the farmer’s market that morning to find some culinary inspiration for dinner that night.  Strolling through the stalls in Jackson Heights, I found myself drawn to a plastic carton spilling with curly garlic scapes.  I had never cooked with scapes before, but before I could second guess myself, I impulsively purchased two big handfuls and was on my way home.

While garlic scapes closely resemble beans or scallions, they’re actually shoots of the garlic plant.  As for their taste, they have a milder, sweeter garlic flavor than garlic itself.  If you eat it raw, you may get a minor case of garlic breath that lasts until the next morning, but it’s a small price to pay for a unique taste that is only in season for a short time.

Inspired by an episode of the Kimchi Chronicles in which Jean-Georges and Hugh Jackman prepared a delectable kimchi compound butter to slather onto a Wagyu steak, I decided to attempt a compound butter of my own with garlic scapes and lemon thyme to pair with the rib-eye steak my dad was planning to grill on the barbecue.

So how do you make Garlic Scape and Lemon Thyme Compound Butter?  Well, lucky for you, I snapped all the steps on Instagram.  Here it goes..

Yield: 2 sticks of compound butter

3 Garlic Scapes
2 Sticks of Butter
1 Handful of Lemon Thyme (or Thyme)
Wax Paper


Take 3 garlic scapes

Chop them into 1 inch sections and throw into the food processor. Meanwhile, place your two sticks of butter out on the counter to warm up to room temperature.

Blend garlic scapes until finely chopped.

Grab a handful of thyme or lemon thyme and run your fingers through each step to take off the leaves.

Slice your room temperature butter into 1/2 inch slices and throw them in a mixing bowl with your chopped scapes and thyme leaves.

Using a fork and/or spatula, incorporate the ingredients together.

Split the butter into two portions and roll it up with a piece of wax or parchment paper, like you would a sushi roll, and twist the ends so it looks like a piece of candy.  Stick one into the fridge and let it set for a few hours, and throw the second into the freezer to use in the future.

This is what it should look like, when it’s all set and unwrapped.

Take a few slices and eat it with your steak (like I did, above), slather it on toasted bread, or mix it in with a warm potato salad.  As we made our way through dinner, each bite was complimented by a burst of garlic scape nibs and thyme – it was awesome!

And I think everyone agreed too.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

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6 Responses to A First Encounter with Garlic Scapes

  1. melly says:

    yum! garlic compound butter sounds soooo good. corn on the cob accompaniment? yes, please!

  2. NicoleD says:

    I LOVE garlic scapes and this is a very clever way to use them. Sounds wonderful. I recently added mine to pizza and loved it. Yay for garlic scapes!

  3. Darcey says:

    Great post! I feel inspired to explore garlic scapes now.

    • DAVID says:


  4. Veronica says:

    Hi David, garlic scapes are seasonal – they’re available in NY in the summer. You can find them at your local greenmarket!

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