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A New Way With Garlic Scapes June 30, 2009

Posted by Toy Lady in random stuff.
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So garlic scapes are in season – for, oh, about 2 weeks, then they’re gone.  😥

I managed to snag a decent sized package at the market last weekend – as much as I’d like to stock up, I don’t want them to go bad, or, even worse, to molder in the freezer until we can’t stand the thought of them.  🙄

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Anyway, you may recall how thrilled I was with our scapes last year, or, more recently, how I used the last of the scape pesto for our grilled panini.

So this year, I thought I’d go kind of a different direction with my (first?) bundle of scapes – I decided to stir fry them.    Sort of.  😯

Peeps isn’t a huge fan of your basic stir fry, so I thought maybe a pork lo mein might be the way to go.  After all, I do love my husband, and I want him to be happy.  😀

But I still love stir fry, too.  What’s a girl to do?  😕

Lo mein, that’s what.  Basically, the main difference between a typical stir fry and a lo mein is the starch – lo mein is tossed with pasta, rather than served over rice.  Either way, it’s all about the vegetables – like  garlic scapes.

Have I mentioned that one of the reasons I so love garlic scapes is that it’s GARLIC and it counts as a VEGETABLE?  OK, just so we’re clear on that.  😀

Well, the first thing I did was consult with those clever people at Cook’s Illustrated.  They’re very clever, you know.  And it’s, if nothing else, a place to start.  And we’ve played around with a couple of different versions of Chinese BBQ, and we’ve been very happy with them – and since the America’s Test Kitchen version seems to feel the same way, well, we started with their recipe.

We had a couple of boneless pork loin chops on the freezer, so we took those out, cut them into stir-fry sized pieces, and built a marinade for them:

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  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. oyster sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. hoisin sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Chinese 5-spice

Whisk them all together and put about half of it, along with 1/4 tsp. of liquid smoke (if you’d like, but if you’re going to call it barbecue, you probably should have smoke, you know?)  into a large zip-top bag with the sliced pork to marinate.

PhotobucketWhile the pork is marinating, we just thickened the rest of the sauce with a little cornstarch and chicken broth and set aside.

Now, because stir-fry is, well, what it is, we took the time to gather together the rest of the players – everything we’re going to need, because it’s the kind of thing that builds momentum – once you get going, you really don’t have time to stop and mince garlic or slice cabbage. Just do it all first.  You’ll thank me later.  😉

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I used most of a bunch of garlic scapes, cut into about 1-inch hunks, along with a bunch or two of scallions, sliced, and a whole head of napa cabbage, sliced.

We’re also going to want to prepare the aromatics – other than the scapes, of course!

Mince a couple of cloves of garlic, grate a couple of teaspoons of fresh ginger, and combine them with 1/2 tsp. of vegetable oil.

PhotobucketWe used dried pasta (spaghetti, to be exact) (we had that in the pantry, as opposed to putting shoes on and hoping the Asian market was open on Sunday evening . . . it worked just fine).  Get your water boiling, and, if you’re using the dried pasta (which there’s no reason not to), I’d wait until you actually drop the pasta to start cooking the rest.

PhotobucketHeat a teaspoon of oil in a large skillet, then brown the meat, in a single layer, without moving it, for 1 minute.  You may need to cook in batches – we used our biggest pan and smallest chops, so we were able to get it all in one batch.  😀

After a minute, stir and continue cooking until well-browned, 2-3 minutes.

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Deglaze the pan with 3-4 Tablespoons of dry sherry, and cook until the meat is coated and most of the liquid has cooked off, about a minute.  Remove from the pan, wipe out the skillet, and add a little more oil.

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Once the pan is hot, add the scape-scallion mixture and cook until wilted, 3-4 minutes, then dump into the bowl with the browned meat.

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A little more oil in the pan, then add the cabbage.  It’ll take a couple of minutes, but the cabbage will cook down – 5 minutes altogether.

PhotobucketOnce the cabbage is tender, make a bit of a well in the center of the pan and add the ginger-garlic mixture.  Mash it up a little while it’s cooking, then add a Tablespoon of chili-garlic sauce and give it a  good stir.  Return everything to the pan – the meat and the scapes, along with the sauce that we thickened way at the beginning.

PhotobucketOf course you’ve also been cooking your pasta, and it should be about done by now – drain it and return it to its pan.

Now comes the fun part – dump the meat-garlic scape-sauce mixture into the cooked spaghetti and toss thoroughly.

And that’s it – pork garlic scape lo mein.

A couple of notes – garlic scapes take a little longer to get soft than, say, fresh green beans – just be aware.

Pork loin chops may not be the best choice for stir fry, but they’re not bad.  Cook ’em quick, and they’re fine.

Anything that has Chinese 5-spice powder is always worth a try.  😀

Yum.

Comments

1. origamifreak - June 30, 2009

mmm. scapes.

I’ve been eating a lot of those from my CSA, lately.

And the pesto really rocks.

Toy Lady - June 30, 2009

I know, aren’t they great? 🙂

I made a bunch of spinach-scape pesto last year and just used up the last from the freezer not too long ago. 😀

2. And a nice Chianti « Dark Side of the Fridge - July 16, 2009

[…] they’re the kind of thing you either love or hate – and, like ramps and garlic scapes,  they’re not readily available out-of-season.  So we grabbed them while we […]


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