Another feature you will find locally and in your LOFT box this week are garlic scapes. These lovely items make an incredibly tasty version of pesto and can be used in this week’s Caprese Salad recipe or can be frozen and used in any of your favorite pesto applications at a later time.
This pesto is quick and easy to make so there is no need to set aside half of your day for this kitchen experiment. A great tool to have on hand for this recipe is an immersion blender (looks like a magic wand). This tool is one of the best investments you can make to enhance your kitchen appliance inventory if you don’t already own one. It can be used for quickly blending salad dressings and soups, pureeing fresh garlic, or whipping together recipes like pesto, hummus or homemade tapenades. The best part about this tool is that you can blend your recipe within the container that you are storing it in, which means less cleanup.
While working in Italy, I remember the tomatoes tasting so rich and flavourful and reminded me of fresh summer tomatoes produced here in Ontario. Insalata Caprese is one of the simplest and most delicious of dishes. Although fresh young basil is one of my favorite herbs, I use a garlic scape pesto to marinate the mozzarella cheese in my version of this salad. Traditional Insalata Caprese includes only fresh, local, vine ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, basil or pesto and finally the best extra virgin olive oil that you can afford. No vinegar of any kind is used in traditional versions of this salad; however, you may have come across the addition of balsamic vinegar in a restaurant here in Canada. Make this beautiful salad with Floralane tomatoes or using tomatoes and herbs from your garden when the time comes.
Garlic Scape Pesto
- 1 cup garlic scapes, chopped
- 1 cup EVOO
- 1/2 cup basil, chopped
- 1/4 cupfresh parmesan cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup pine nuts, walnuts or pecans or a mix!
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients into a container for blending using immersion blender (or place all ingredients into a blender) and puree until smooth (you may need to add more oil to make it smooth). Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer into small containers or jars to freeze some or store in refrigerator for up to a week.
- 1 ball of fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
- 2-3 fresh vine ripened tomatoes, sliced
- 3-4 tbsp of garlic scape pesto
- 2-3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil to finish
- Salt and pepper to garnish
If time allows, you may marinate your cheese with pesto for a few hours before serving. If you are pressed for time, in a mixing bowl, coat your mozzarella with pesto and then arrange slices on serving platter. Add slices of tomatoes on top of cheese slices and drizzle with olive oil. Decorate your platter with a few extra drizzles of olive oil, garnish with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.