Garlic Scape Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

garlic scape pesto and fresh mozzarella grilled cheese / a thousand threads
If you’ve never heard of scapes, I’m sorry for the information I’m about to give you. I’m sorry because after you taste one of these curly, crazy looking little plants, it’s entirely possible that you might form the same attachment that’s about to send Mark and I back to the farmer’s market to rush the poor farmer that sold them to us… lest you (and we) tragically miss all of scape season, which is just a few weeks at most.

garlic scape and fresh mozzarella pesto grilled cheese / a thousand threadsgarlic scape pesto and fresh mozzarella grilled cheese / a thousand threads
So what are these things? Upon asking said farmer what the moderately creepy, spidery little plants were, I learned that scapes are sort of to garlic what scallions are to onions. Scapes grow up out of the garlic plant before it’s fully formed, then begin to harden and curl around themselves until eventually, if they’re not cut off, they straighten up straight to the sky in a move that signals the garlic is done.

Of course… you’d have to be crazy not to cut them off. First, cutting your scapes will apparently give you a bigger garlic bulb (oh the things I’ve learned about garlic farming on this adventure… I’ll be a pro by July) and second… If you don’t cut them you can’t eat them.

And why would you ever do that?

Scapes have a delicious, mild garlic flavor with just a little bite and a fresh taste that can’t be compared to anything else I’ve tried. They can be sautéed in butter and olive oil, mixed into your stir fry or sauce, pickled and jarred, and I imagine just about anything else… people are making ice cream out of ramps these days, you know, why not try it with some scapes?! It couldn’t possibly be any less weird.

But one of the most popular ways to prepare your scapes (and freeze and keep them too) is to blend them up into a pesto that I could barely help but eat off the spoon.

Then, if you’re really feeling decadent… you can pull out a little sourdough and fresh mozzarella and make this sandwich.

garlic scape pesto and fresh mozzarella grilled cheese / a thousand threads
Garlic Scape Pesto and Fresh Mozzarella Grilled Cheese

1 loaf of sourdough bread, sliced
1 ball of fresh mozzarella, sliced (or more if you like a lot of cheese and plan to make more than about 3 large sandwiches)
1 cup garlic scape pesto (below)

For one sandwich: Butter two slices of sourdough bread on one side and smear with a generous amount of pesto on the other.  Place an equally generous amount of mozzarella between pesto-smeared sides and toast over medium heat to taste.

garlic scape pesto and fresh mozzarella grilled cheese / a thousand threads
Garlic Scape and Almond Pesto
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan

Makes about 1 cup

10 garlic scapes, finely chopped
1/3 to 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (to taste and texture)
1/3 cup slivered almonds (you could toast them lightly, if you’d like)
About 1/2 cup olive oil
Sea salt

Put the scapes, 1/3 cup of the cheese, almonds and half the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor (or use a blender or a mortar and pestle).  Whir to chop and blend all the ingredients and then add the remainder of the oil and, if you want, more cheese.  If you like the texture, stop; if you’d like it a little thinner, add some more oil.  Season with salt.

Pesto can be stored in the refrigerator for a couple of days or packed airtight and frozen for a couple of months.  I recommend you stock up!


  1. Posted June 12, 2013 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I have never heard of scapes but, oh boy do I want to eat them! This sounds amazing.

    • Laicie
      Posted June 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Christine! I hadn’t either but man am I happy I know about them now… so good.

  2. Posted June 12, 2013 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    this looks and sounds absolutely amazing!! got to get my hands on some scapes and try this out.

    • Laicie
      Posted June 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Juni! You do! Let me know how it goes. 🙂

      • Posted June 18, 2013 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        just wanted to come back and let you know that I dragged my boyfriend to the farmers market for scapes and it was so worth it! we substituted mozzarella for gruyere. sooo delicious.

        • Laicie
          Posted June 19, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          Oh I’m so glad you did!! Aren’t they amazing? I’m totally obsessed with that pesto now. And gruyere sounds delicious — yum!

  3. Posted June 12, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Oh man does that look tasty! My husband is a huge ramp fan, and I’m sure scapes would be right up his all. Great post!

    • Laicie
      Posted June 13, 2013 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Thanks Sarah!! I’m sure you guys would love them — I kind of want to put that pesto on everything now.

  4. John
    Posted June 12, 2013 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    That Looks AMAZING! My co-worker was just telling me about scapes, I cant wait to make this for my wife.

    • Laicie
      Posted June 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      She’ll love it!! Thanks John. 😉

  5. Posted June 12, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    oh man, this looks incredibly tasty. modern comfort food.

    • Laicie
      Posted June 13, 2013 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      The best kind. 🙂

  6. Posted June 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh… my… word. Off to find so scapes… and tons of mozzarella… bye!

    • Laicie
      Posted June 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Hehe let me know how it goes!! They really are that good. 🙂

  7. Posted June 14, 2013 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    emmmmmmmmmmmm… i love it

  8. Posted June 15, 2013 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    This looks insanely good. I’d like one for breakfast! I wonder if our local farmers market carries them.. I haven’t seen them, but your post has me intrigued!

    • Laicie
      Posted June 16, 2013 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Oh man good idea!! I could eat one at every meal haha. 🙂

  9. Posted June 18, 2013 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    Mmmm live it! Thanks for recipe 🙂

  10. Posted June 18, 2013 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    OMG!these photos are killing me!love your idea,love garlic and in combination with cheese it’s a bomb!;)
    my mouth starts to water !

  11. Posted May 24, 2015 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I assure you that it is very tasty ! I tried it

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