I came across these twirling green beauties at my farmer’s market the other day and couldn’t resist taking home a bundle. If you have never cooked with them before [which I hadn’t either] garlic scapes are the stems and unopened flowers of garlic bulbs. They have a sweet, mild garlic flavor, so they are perfect for subtly flavored dishes that would otherwise be overpowered by actual cloves of garlic.
Without any practice cooking with them, and wanting to experience their flavor, I decided to start with the blank canvas of a simple white pizza — nothing more than some cheese, olive oil, and fresh thyme. I have to tell you: it ended up being the right choice. Unlike so many white pizzas that are overwhelmed by the pungency of traditional garlic, this pizza has just the right amount of sweetness and garlic aroma. There are very few ingredients, but each each flavor fulfills a distinct purpose, contributing to the whole. It’s flavorful but not forceful, simple but not plain.
I think I see more garlic scape pizzas in my future.
garlic scape pizza
Garlic scapes add a sweet, mild garlic flavor to this pizza without overpowering its other subtle flavors. It is delicious eaten both hot from the oven, or at room temperature, when the cheese has had a chance to settle into the crust. Fresh, flavorful summer pizza at its finest.
1 pound fresh pizza dough, recipe below
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic scapes, ends trimmed
9 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, plus more for garnish
First, prepare the pizza dough
Meanwhile, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the whole garlic scapes and cook, flipping them occasionally, until fragrant and lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Once the pizza dough had rested and doubled in size, punch it down and transfer to a lightly floured board. Roll [or stretch] the dough into a large rectangle or circle.
Place a large baking sheet [large enough to fit the dough] in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F [you can use a pizza stone here if you have one]. Once oven is preheated, remove the baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil [be careful, as the oil might splatter when it hits the hot pan]. Roll the dough onto a rolling pin and unroll onto the hot oiled pan. Arrange the slices of mozzarella evenly over the top of the dough, leaving a small border of dough around the edges. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and thyme and arrange the garlic scapes over top. Drizzle the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the exposed edges of dough.
Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the cheese is bubbly, and crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and sprinkle with fresh thyme leaves for garnish. Transfer to a large wooden board and cut into pieces to serve.
for the pizza dough
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 teaspoon salt
extra virgin olive oil
In a large bowl, mix the water with the yeast and sugar. Let stand until mixture starts to foam, about 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Lightly oil the bowl and return the dough it, turning the dough to coat it in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm, draft-free area until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
yield: 1 pound of dough