Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Grilled Bruschetta with Pesto, Sauteed Spinach & Garlic Scapes

I spent last Saturday morning wandering through our local farmers' of my favorite summer activities. I love to create recipes on the spot based on what looks good; what is in season. This week was no exception.

I first passed a vendor carrying garlic scapes. Are you familiar with scapes?  If not, go immediately to your farmer's market and ask for them.  They are a soon-to-flower stalk that grows at the top of the garlic plant from between the leaves.  These "flowers" have to be cut off to ensure the bulb receives the necessary energy required to grow into the garlic we know and love.  This process is sort of like pinching the flowers off herb plants to aid in their growth.
garlic scapes

Many people discard the scapes when harvesting. If you grow garlic do not let this happen. They are an amazingly tasty vegetable that can be used wherever you normally use garlic, green onions or chives. They taste like a milder version of fresh garlic, with a bit less bite, while still retaining tons of flavor. They can be chopped up and added to stir-fry, frittata, pasta or sautéed and added as a topping for pizza. You will find many ways to use. They add tons of spice to this bruschetta recipe.  I bought a huge bunch.

Next to the scape man was my favorite bread vendor featuring whole wheat sourdough bread that is truly addictive. One loaf was quickly added to my basket. As soon as I passed a booth chock full of wild spinach and basil my menu came together...grilled sourdough bread spread with fresh basil pesto and topped with a garlicky saute of scapes and spinach. How good does that sound? My perfect summer appetizer? Done! I think I will make the bruschetta for the 4th of July holiday this weekend.

Grilled Bruschetta with Pesto, Sauteed Spinach & Garlic Scapes
(quantity flexible..make as many as you wish)

excellent quality sourdough or french bread-2 thick slices per serving
1 batch pesto (recipe follows)
garlic scapes- 1 per serving (or 1 clove garlic per serving), thinly sliced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
2 handfuls wild spinach (or baby spinach) per serving
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar per serving
pinch red pepper flakes per serving
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
toasted pine nuts for sprinkling

Grill or broil bread until both sides are golden brown. Generously spread pesto over 1 side of each piece and set aside.

In a large skillet, warm the olive oil and then saute the scapes until soft. Do not let brown. Add spinach and saute until wilted. Stir in vinegar, red pepper and a pinch each salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if making a large batch. Cook an additional 30 seconds. Pile spinach mixture on top of prepared toast. Sprinkle pine nuts over spinach and serve immediately.

(this recipe is made without cheese for a lighter, fresher taste than traditional pesto. I like it better with the spinach but feel free to use your favorite pesto for this recipe)

1/2 lb fresh basil leaves
2 large cloves garlic
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Add first 4 ingredients to bowl of food processor and pulse until smooth. Add pinch each sea salt and pepper. Process for an additional few seconds. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Top leftover pesto with additional olive oil, cover and store in refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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Other 4th of July themed recipes you may enjoy:

It is "4th of July themed recipes" week at Food Network's #Summer Soiree roundup.
Check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends. Have a favorite 4th of July recipe?  Share in the comments section and/or link to your blog if you have one.

The Heritage Cook: Firecracker Salad
Jeanette's Healthy Living: Brazilian Acai Breakfast Bowl
Weelicious: Magical Fruit Wands
Virtually Homemade: Traditional Potato Salad
Dishing With Divya: Red, White and Blue Fruit Salad
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Mini Cherry Blueberry Pies
Daily*Dishin: Dilly Potato Salad

napa farmhouse 1885

I have started sharing my Taos experiences on my newest blog "California Girl in Taos". Please visit and let me know what you think.

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