Garlic scapes are in full season right now and they've quickly become one of my favorite vegetables. Simply the green part of a garlic bulb, they have a sweet, garlicky onion taste to them, with the texture of a young green bean. They are quite versatile, but as with most vegetables that are delicious and seasonal, my favorite method is just to grill them.
Pairing the smoky, grilled garlic scapes with some Parmesan polenta seemed like such a natural step and for a light summer meal, I opted for scallops instead of a meat. The three together made for a very luxurious feeling summer meal with very little effort.
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 cup instant polenta
- 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmesan
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 cups water
Grilled Garlic Scapes
- 4-5 fresh scapes per person
- olive oil, rubbed over reach one
- kosher salt, for sprinkling
- 4ish jumbo scallops per person, patted dry (shrimp would be a nice substitute for scallops)
- *vegetable oil, for searing
- salt and pepper
*the reason we use vegetable oil instead of olive oil is because vegetable oil has a higher smoking point, and therefore gets hotter than olive oil. This is better especially for searing meats and seafood, creating that nice browning you see in the picture.
First, prepare your polenta. It really couldn't be easier. Bring 4 cups of water and the salt to a boil in a saucepan. Stirring constantly, add in the polenta. Cook, still stirring constantly (we don't want lumps), until the polenta thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan and butter. Cover and set aside until the butter melts, about 2 minutes. You'll want to stir again before serving.
Next, grill your garlic scapes. Heat up your indoor grill pan or outdoor grill until it's as hot as can be. Rub down (with your hands) each scape with oil. Sprinkle with kosher salt and grill. Garlic scapes, because of their curly nature, don't like to lie flat on the grill, so I'll usually help it out with a heavy lid placed on top.
Lastly, sear your scallops. This takes the least amount of time, so it's best to save this step for last if you're preparing any other items for your meal. To sear, heat up vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan until shimmering. Pat the scallops dry and season them with salt and pepper. Place them into the hot pan, and let them cook, without moving them, for about 4 minutes on each side, or more if your scallops are bigger than mine. Generally, they are ready to turn over when nice deep brown on one side and are not sticky at all.
Arrange your three ingredients and serve.