“How would you cook them?” A fellow shopper asked me as I picked up a bunch of garlic scapes this morning at Union Square Greenmarket.

“I’ll make an omelette with them” I told her.  That’s exactly what I had decided to make for lunch a minute ago.

“They are also great when sautéed with bacon or mushrooms.”  I continued, as she appeared to be very interested in hearing more cooking tips for these strangely beautiful things.

By the time I finished my list of culinary suggestions, she already had a bunch in her hand and said to me: “I’m gonna try them for dinner.”

I wish I knew what dish she made.  I have no doubt it was delicious and she fell in love with her new discovery.

In case you are also new to cooking with garlic scapes, these are the leafless flower stalks that spring from the tops of garlic plants.  They are cut as soon as produced, in order for the plant to send more energy down to the bulb.    They have a short season during late spring and early summer.

In many countries, garlic scapes are highly prized for their mild garlic aroma and tender-crisp texture.  In China, they are often stir-fried with pork, chicken, eggs, mushrooms, or pressed tofu.

Mushrooms pair particularly well with garlicky flavor, which is why I’ve included them in my omelette recipe below.  I like to use beech mushrooms for this dish, as they add a slightly crunchy texture to the omelette.  Feel free to use any other mushroom of your choice, or even better, a mixture of different varieties.

Oyster sauce, full of umami flavor, brings depth and richness to this meatless dish.  If you prefer, you can use the vegetarian variety, which contains mushroom extract and works beautifully here.

There are many ways of making an omelette.  This recipe makes a flat one entirely on stove top, without flipping or flopping.

Garlic scape omelette with beech mushrooms and oyster sauce

Makes 2 servings

Ingredients:

8 oz (230 g) garlic scapes, flower pods and tough ends removed, and cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 oz (85 g) brown beech mushrooms
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon Shaoxing wine
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:

  1.  Heat the oil in a 10 or 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add the garlic scapes and stir-fry for 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another minute.  Season with salt and pepper.  Turn down the heat to medium low.
  2. Season the eggs with salt (about 1 teaspoon) and pepper.  Shake the skillet to spread the scapes and mushrooms evenly.  Pour the eggs over them and tap the skillet gently to level the eggs.
  3. Cover and cook, shaking the skillet from time to time, until the top is just set, about 8 minutes.
  4. Drizzle oyster sauce over the omelette and garnish with scallion slices.
  5. Cut the omelette into wedges, and serve hot or warm.
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