The First Harvest // Garlic Scape Tempura with Goat Cheese Dip

Garlic Scape Tempura with Goat Cheese Dip {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Saturday was our first harvest, the first of many moments that I’ve been longing for since burying our seeds in tiny pop-up pots in the depths of February. The moment I daydreamed about while stabbing at still-frozen ground with my turning fork in March. The moment I finally believed might happen this year when the first tender sprouts poked their heads out of the ground at the end of April. Summer is really coming.

Garlic Scapes {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

This week’s haul was modest – a few handfuls of the sweetest green peas, a world away from the starchy peas that even the best grocery stores carry; the twisty turny garlic scapes that shot up in a matter of a few days; and 3 pounds of the most beautiful bright red strawberries, the result of two years of patience as the plants developed their roots and spread across the ground. This week we came home with a few snacks, but from here it only gets better, until it’s the end of August and we’re hauling home more tomatoes than we can even imagine eating, begging friends to take our extra cucumbers and squash, and sweating over the stove as we can jar after jar of tomato paste and pickles, trying to save it all to brighten our winter shelves.

Garlic Scape Tempura with Goat Cheese Dip {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Garlic Scapes {Katie at the Kitchen Door{

I’m saving the strawberries for next week (hint hint), so this week we’re talking scapes. For those of you who have never seen one, they look like curly, flexible scallions that come out of the middle of garlic plants. If you let them grow, they eventually flower, but most farmers and gardeners clip them to send the energy that would otherwise be used to create flowers into creating bigger bulbs. Since the scapes themselves are edible, trimming them off seems like a win-win. The most common thing to do with them is make pesto, although pickling them, grilling them, and using them in soup come in as close seconds. Since there are already tons of recipes for those things out there, I decided to try something less common – giving the scapes a quick dip in a seltzer batter and frying them to make garlic scape tempura. Even a little bit of heat mellows out the garlicky bite in these, so don’t worry that munching on them whole will be too intense. There are two tricky parts to making tempura – one, getting the consistency of the batter just right, and two, keeping the oil at a temperature that is not so hot as to burn your tempura, but hot enough to cook it quickly and keep the coating airy. After a little trial and error, I got the hang of it, and you will too. I served these with a goat cheese and sour cream dip flecked with chives – it was intense and delicious, but it overwhelmed the delicate flavor of the tempura a little bit. Go light with the dip, or try something thinner or less salty if you’re looking to change it up.

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Garlic Scape Tempura with Goat Cheese Dip {Katie at the Kitchen Door}

Garlic Scape Tempura

Serves 3-4 as an appetizer.

  • 8-10 garlic scapes
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2/3 c. flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2/3 c. + 2 TBS seltzer
  • sea salt, to taste
  1. Wash your scapes and cut into 3-4 inch pieces. Some people choose not to eat the flower bulb end, but if your scapes are young and tender and the bulb is small, it won’t make much difference.
  2. Pour vegetable oil into a wide heavy-bottomed pan, filling to a depth of about 1 1/2 inches. Heat over medium heat, to a temperature of 375°F.
  3. Whisk together the flour and baking soda. Immediately before you begin frying (i.e. when your oil is hot enough), whisk the seltzer into the flour until a light smooth batter forms. Dip your scapes into the batter to fully coat, then carefully place in the hot oil. Only put as many scapes as can fit with plenty of room between them in each batch – you don’t want to crowd them. Fry for 1-2 minutes, until just beginning to color, then remove from the oil with a skimmer and let drain on a paper towel. Immediately shake sea salt over the hot tempura. Repeat until you have used all the scapes. Serve immediately.

Goat Cheese and Sour Cream Dip

Makes about 1/2 cup.

  • 2 oz. goat cheese
  • 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh chives
  • salt, to taste
  1. Put the goat cheese in a medium bowl and beat with a fork until mostly smooth. Add the sour cream and mix together until evenly combined. Stir in the black pepper and chives. Taste, and season to your liking.

6 thoughts on “The First Harvest // Garlic Scape Tempura with Goat Cheese Dip

  1. I like the idea of the tempura for the scapes (which is a new word for me – I just call them garlic greens or stems!) My garlic is being very slow – I only have one or two with greens so far. Patience is definitely required when you grow your own food!

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