Garlic Scapes are one of those things that I get really excited about when they come to market. Each spring the flower of the hard neck garlic emerges from the earth and begins to wind its way skyward. Farmers then remove the flower bud along with the curvy stem so that all of the energy that would have gone into producing the flower goes back down to the bulb to produce the garlic that will be harvested later in the season. What that means for us is that these beautiful Garlic Scapes make it to the market for just a few short weeks each year. They have a mellow garlic flavor that is well suited to pairing with delicate flavors like fish, so I wanted to create a dish where both the subtle flavor of garlic as well as their gorgeous curves would be featured.
Darryl Mosher of Brittany Hollow Farm in Rhinebeck, NY gave me the idea of shaving the garlic scapes into paper thin strips using a vegetable peeler. I think this is a brilliant way to handle them and just goes to show that if you aren’t familiar with how to prepare something that you see in the market, ask the grower…chances are they’ve been preparing it for dinner too and have a great idea to share with you.
- 1 1/2 lbs Fish Fillets, such as halibut, striped bass or flounder - cut into 4 pieces
- 1 Bunch Garlic Scapes
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter - softened
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Bunch Baby Fennel
- 8 Fingerling Potatoes
- 1/4 Cup Fresh Herbs, such as basil, dill, chervil or tarragon - chopped
- 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Directions:Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the garlic scapes in long thin strips. Slice the fennel into thin slices. A mandolin works wonderfully to produce even, paper thin slices. Slice the potatoes lengthwise a bit thicker than the fennel. Place 4 sheets of 14" x 16" parchment paper on a countertop, brush the paper with the softened butter and sprinkle with salt & pepper. Line the center of each sheet of parchment with the potato and fennel slices then drizzle them with the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Season the fish with salt and pepper as well and place on top of the potatoes. Pile the garlic scapes on top of the fish. Sprinkle with the fresh herbs.
Fold the paper over and tuck the ends under to make a sealed package. Place the packets on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Serve one pouch to each person allowing them to cut the paper open at the table inhaling the mellow garlic goodness as the steam escapes.
*This can also be prepared in a foil pouch and cooked on a charcoal grill.