Flash-sautéed cherry tomatoes with garlic scapes A super-flavorful veggie side dish recipe. Celebrate scape season!

Flash-sautéed cherry tomatoes with garlic scapes and chives

What are garlic scapes?

Garlic scapes never fail to catch my eye at the farmers’ market. Their coiled, pigtail-like shape makes them one of the most unusual, gorgeous-looking vegetables.

But what are they, exactly? Scapes (also known as garlic shoots, garlic stems and garlic stalks) are the leafless, flowering stems of the garlic plant. They are usually cut off before the bud fully develops in order to encourage the garlic plant to put all of its energy into growing its precious bulb. This practice, of course, lets us enjoy the garlic plant in more ways than one – the precursor to the feast, so to speak.

But don’t let its funky shape intimidate you. That wiggly-looking veggie has a delightful, mild garlic flavor. The only recommendation I have is to choose young, tender stems, as they get a little tough and fibrous when mature.

How to cook garlic scapes

There are many ways to cook garlic scapes. I love to braise them with other members of the Allium family and toss them with linguini — but they’re also delicious puréed in pesto, stir-fried, grilled (with other veggies or on their own) or, as in today’s recipe, simply sautéed.

A couple of weeks ago, local hothouse cherry tomatoes made their first appearance at our farmers’ market. Flash-sautéed with garlic scapes and chives, they make the most delicious and versatile side dish – not to mention they’re a cinch to prepare.

I only wish garlic scape season would last just a bit longer!

Garlic scapes

Flash-sautéed cherry tomatoes with garlic scapes

serves 4 to 6
active time: 15 min

  1. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 8 young garlic scapes – cut on the diagonal in 1/8″ slices (1 cup) (see Cook’s note)
  3. 1/2 small bunch fresh chives – cut in 1/4″ pieces using kitchen scissors (1/4 cup)
  4. 1 1/2 lbs (680 g) assorted cherry tomatoes (4 cups) – halved
  5. 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste
  6. freshly ground black pepper to taste

  1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and garlic scapes and sauté for 2 to 2 1/2 minutes, until garlic scapes are tender and just begin to turn dark green, stirring frequently. Add the chives, tomatoes, salt and pepper and sauté for 30 seconds shaking the pan vigorously so they warm up evenly (The tomatoes should not cook or the skins will get tough. They should be barely warmed). Remove from heat, transfer to a serving platter and serve immediately, as a side vegetable.
  2. Cook’s note: If garlic scapes are not available, substitute with 2 garlic cloves, skinned and finely chopped. Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds and proceed with the recipe.

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Flash-sautéed cherry tomatoes with garlic scapes and chives

side vegetable, cherry tomatoes, garlic scapes

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  • Reply CookingToday.co.uk September 17, 2010 at 7:49 am

    I love Garlic and the scrapes are one of the best things about gowing your own. Great recipe. I am going to try this over the weekend

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre September 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm

      Oh you are so lucky that you can still find garlic scapes at this time of the year!

  • Reply Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet } July 18, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Very creative recipe and beautiful photos!!!

  • Reply Pam @ Sticks Forks Fingers July 16, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    I do something similar and gussie up a shallow bowl of white bean dip or hummus with the sauteed tomatoes. Your photos are beautiful!

  • Reply joanne July 16, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Never heard of garlic scapes. So interesting and what beautiful photos.

  • Reply Isabelle July 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    What a creative way to use garlic scapes! I normally use mine to make pesto, but I love how you’ve used them here… especially since garlic and tomato are always such a happy pairing. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • Reply Tiffany July 16, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I’ve never tried garlic scapes, but I will now! I suppose I could use my grape tomatoes instead of cherry, and I love chives too, thanks for the inspiration and the lovely blog!

  • Reply Joy Zhang July 16, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Viviane I always enjoy your dishes — you always bring such a sophistication to all of your creations. This is so lovely with the bright colors of the tomatoes and I am sure the fragrant flavors of the garlic scapes and chives. I’ve never had garlic scapes but I am sure they are delicious (esp if you’re making them!). Anyways, hope you are doing great! Talk to you soon 🙂

    • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre July 16, 2010 at 9:14 am

      Thank you so much Joy! You are so dear… I do hope you get to taste garlic scapes. They’re unusual but delicate and seductive in a way… It’s always a privilege to create delicious dishes with out of the ordinary ingredients.

  • Reply Dana July 13, 2010 at 12:55 am

    Aren’t they gorgeous? I was always slightly afraid of them but this year I dove in and have used them in several ways. The pesto was by far the best. We are still seeing them at our markets so I need to gather some up, make bunches of pesto and freeze it!

  • Reply Lori Lynn July 12, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Ahhh, the beauty of summer.

  • Reply sky July 11, 2010 at 10:09 am

    looks like delicious..

  • Reply Viviane Bauquet Farre July 5, 2010 at 9:39 am

    A big thank you to everyone who stopped by and left a comment. I’m always grateful for it and so enjoy reading your thoughts.

    Vincent, picking your own garlic scapes is truly exciting. Yes they do look “cool” and so elegant in a way. I’m certain that you will love their delicate flavor and will think of many ways to use them… Keep me posted.

    El, I’m so glad you’ll give them a try. They’ll be in season for a couple more weeks in your neck of the woods.

  • Reply El July 5, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I’ve always wondered how to use garlic scapes. Thanks for explaining them. I appreciate knowing that their flavor is mild and the purpose cutting them serves for the greater good of the garlic bulb. I’ll definitely give them a try!

  • Reply vk July 4, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    wow!!!! i just bought some garlic scapes at some pick-your-own organic farm because they looked cool and smelled good. I’m going to try this recipe… thank you Viviane!

  • Reply Food-Fitness-FreshAir July 3, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    This would have been perfect to share at the farmer’s market with all those customers pondering over what are garlic scapes and what to do with them. They’re so beautiful. I always love cutting them and bunching them for the markets…except for the part where the garlic juices cover my hands!

  • Reply Mardi@eatlivetravelwrite July 3, 2010 at 7:06 am

    This is the most perfect salad for the summer. I love all the flavours and colours! Beautiful!

  • Reply Alina July 3, 2010 at 2:07 am

    Oh I love it when vegetables are cooked yet retain all their vitamins! Looks great and healthy. I’ve never seen garlic scapes here though. Maybe they can be found at the city’s central farmer’s market.

  • Reply Marc July 2, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Simply beautiful, Viviane. Thank you!!!

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