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Adventures in food for curious cooks.

Summertime (e)Scapes

Mostly Plants Series

How to use whatever produce you find at your farmers market or CSA. Roots to leaves and flowers, here's how to cook with what you've got.

Summertime (e)Scapes

Lynley Jones

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Invite the neighbors over and fire up the grill to turn this week's farmers' market finds into a buttery-garlicky cruciferous treat.

Cauliflower Dreaming

One of the most delicious things to do with cauliflower is to embrace all your lazy summertime tendencies and barely do anything to it. Really.

 Purple cauliflower and romanesco from my CSA in early July

Purple cauliflower and romanesco from my CSA in early July

Here's how it works:

You just cut it up, slather it with olive oil, generously sprinkle it with coarse salt and pepper, and sear it on a hot grill until it develops a beautiful brown char. Then you move it to a cooler spot on the grill and let it hang out there awhile longer while you sip a cold delicious beverage and chat with your neighbors. After a while, you take it off the grill and eat it. That's it.

 

I have to admit there was a time I did not love cauliflower. That time is over. This is so good I've been known to pick up the pieces I drop on the ground and pop them into my mouth rather than waste a single bite. Even a bit of driveway grit can't take away from the simple, delicious pleasure of this gorgeously charred treat.

 My cauliflower, cut up and ready for oil.

My cauliflower, cut up and ready for oil.

Brown Butter Scape Sauce

If you want to go a step beyond the simply satisfying charred cauliflower I just described, eat it with a dollop of Brown Butter Scape Sauce. Garlic scapes are one of those somewhat unusual things we sometimes discover at the farmers' market. They're the flowering stalk of the garlic plant, removed in early summer to encourage the remaining garlic bulb to develop that intense flavor we know and love.

 Garlic scapes from my CSA in late June.

Garlic scapes from my CSA in late June.

Garlic scapes taste like garlic, but not quite as strong, and they last for weeks. I just put them loose in my veggie drawer or in any vacant spot in my fridge, and they are often still going strong a month later (although the flavor will begin to mellow after a couple weeks).

This recipe calls for removing the flowering end of the scapes (the part that looks a bit like an oddly-shaped tulip bud), but they're totally edible as well. Their flavor is much milder than the rest of the scape; they're great in salads or chopped and sprinkled onto anything that would benefit from a mild crunch.


Recipes

Next Week: Tomatoes Tomaahhtoes

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