I love getting up early and going to the local farmer's market, the Rochester Public Market. Don't get me wrong, I do not consider myself a Locavore; I don't like the holier-than-thou politically charged implications of that word. I will eat grapes from Chili in winter and lettuce from California and and peaches from Georgia when local produce is not available. But the truth that is plain for anyone with a palate to taste is that the food that gets to your table direct from small family farms in the fastest amount of time tastes better. And no, I'm not talking about organic food either. Some food tastes better if it is organic and other food tastes the same. I go for whatever looks and tastes good, because as you know if you've read this blog even once before, I'm all about quality.
I got up at 4:30 this morning (don't think I'm weird, I can't help it. I just wake up) and I headed out the door around 5:00 to go downtown to one of the oldest farmer's markets in the country. What did I have in mind to buy? Well, strawberries for one. No, they are not the incredible California strawberries you get at a stand on the side of the road in spring in my home state; they are small, but bright red and sweet local berries. And they are delicious. Next best thing to my beloved California berries.
I also wanted radishes. Big, succulent, red ones, crisp to the bite and the knife with a little bit of a spicy finish. Hmm, I like to drop in salad, of course, and they are great with an herbed cheese spread made with thyme, parsley, garlic, chives, cream cheese, salt and pepper with a little sour cream thrown in to thin it out to spreading consistency. Top a grilled piece of baguette with the cheese and a slice of just picked radish and you are in heaven. Or, try the snack given to French school children after school: a radish with a bit of butter and some sea salt. I like re Hawaiian salt for this purpose.
What I was really after were garlic scapes. Garlic scapes are the green part of garlic that grows and flowers. Garlic is a bulb, you know. They have a mild, slightly garlicky, slightly spicy taste. When made into pesto the flavors intensify and you get a spread with a real kick. You can use it just like you would any pesto: on pasta, on pizza, as a base for yummy crostini with melted fresh mozzarella and prosciutto. Anything goes! I am going to stir some of the pesto into an orzo risotto and serve it alongside the American rack of lamb I got at the market for $10 a rack! Locally we usually pay almost $16 a pound for Frenched rack and these are a pound each. I am going to grill them simply, after rubbing them with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper. Can't wait for dinner!
Garlic Scape Pesto
10 garlic scapes, roughly chopped
1/4 lightly toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup olive oil, or enough to get the texture you like
Put the scapes in the food processor and pulse until they are finely ground. Add the olive oil, cheese, pine nuts and whir until uniform consistency. Season with kosher salt. (Shout out to a dear friend who shall remain nameless: get some damn kosher salt, you dweeb. And some decent Parmesan. And for those of you who don't know me, I only call people I like dweebs.