Garlic, I Lost You To the Summer Wind

I’ve been looking forward to home grown garlic since I planted it last fall. Garlic requires a bit of forethought, as it isn’t supposed to be ready for harvesting until summer is in full swing. A 10-month commitment: and so I planned and planted.

Plant garlic before bone-chilling New England winter sets in. Check.

See green shoots emerge a few weeks after planting. Check.

Look for shoots to reappear in spring. Check.

Come back from vacation on the Cape to find all traces of growing garlic completely gone. CHECK.

With summer a mere three days away, and my growing garlic mysteriously nowhere to be found, I can’t help but feel a bit betrayed (also bothered and bewildered). When I planted the garlic last fall, I imagined all the fun we would have come summer: pasta pomodoro, roasted garlic hummus, ratatouille … the list was endless. I thought we both wanted these things. Did I do something wrong? Did I water too much? Not enough? I will never know.

Heartsick over this unexpected loss, I turned to the one person that I knew would understand: Sinatra. And oh boy, did he. Just listen in:

Like painted kites, those days and nights, they went flyin’ by. The world was new, beneath a blue umbrella sky. Then softer than a piper man, one day it called to you. I lost you, I lost you to the summer wind. (From Sinatra’s song “Summer Wind”)

So what would Frank do when faced with broken summertime dreams? He’d cut his losses and trade ole’ garlic in for a younger, fresher broad. This is where the garlic scape comes in. During late spring and early summer, the garlic bulb begins to grow underground, while its above ground green shoot starts to curl. Once the shoot starts to loop de loop, it’s time to chop it off to allow for the garlic bulb to mature: what’s left is the "green" garlic scape.

The scape is delicate in flavor, milder than traditional garlic and quite tender if harvested young. It makes a great substitute for garlic, especially if you find raw garlic to be harsh (which I do). Turns out the garlic scape is also a great stand in for both garlic and onions and doesn’t require any cooking. Ah dear garlic scape, it's almost summer and I’ve already got you under my skin.

Garlicky Gorgonzola Dressing

3 ounces Gorgonzola (or other blue cheese)
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
About 1 garlic scape, finely chopped
2 chives, finely chopped
6-8 basil leaves
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste (for salt I used about 1/3 tsp)

Combine all ingredients.

Yields about 1 cup.

If you find raw garlic overwhelming you may want to start off with 1/2 a garlic scape and then add more to taste. Now is the time (late spring/early summer) to look for the scape at your local farmers' market. I've even seen it in grocery stores.

I used 0% Greek yogurt because it was what I had around and the dressing was great, but you could certainly use a higher percentage; I imagine things would only get better for you.

This dressing will be fairly thick, if you wish you could thin it out with more vinegar (or a little buttermilk); it would also be great as is as a vegetable dip.


  1. The more garlic the better! Thanks for sharing this recipe. You say you're a Boston RD? We'll have to meet up some time for drinks. Or maybe share some plums. :-)

  2. Hi Jess,

    I am! I'd love to meet for a drink sometime: the RD world is so small, isn't it? Good luck scaping it up.


  3. I just got a delivery of garlic scapes from my local farmers market and this recipe sounds like something I would love to try out. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh fabulous! You'll have to let me know how it turns out. I am running out of ways to use mine ... I just put some in a random dip of tahini, soy sauce, sriracha and maple syrup and thinned it with a little water and it was surprisingly delicious with my sugar snap peas. Thanks for following!