It’s a little smoky, a little sweet, and a lot savory with the garlic scapes adding a mild not-quite garlic flavor.
I think I could eat hummus any meal or snack of the day, and it’s usually front and center at a party or picnic. I’ve made it dozens of ways, but my latest rendition uses grilled vegetables to impart both sweet and smoky. By grilling the onions and scapes, their natural sugars are enhanced.
They look like a strange creature indeed!
Garlic scapes are the flower stalks of the garlic plant. Farmers remove them at this time of year so that the plants efforts go into the forming of the bulbs and not the flowering and forming of seeds. They have a subtle garlic flavor, raw or cooked, and are great in stir-fries, soups, salads, egg dishes, and even as a garlic scape pesto! They are quirky and odd-shaped, often looping around on themselves looking like a contorted long-necked bird! Even if you don’t want to eat them, they look wonderful in a flower arrangement!
Let all the flavors shine
Of course, if you want more garlic notes, you can add a couple of cloves, but I think the mildness of the scapes lets more of other other flavors shine through.
Grilling enhances all the flavors
Since I was grilling the scapes and onions, I added the lemon to the mix as well. If you’ve never grilled a lemon, give it a try. The grilling brings out more of the sweetness in the lemon, and you’ll be able to extract more juice.
A charcoal grill will add the most smoke flavor, but you can use a gas grill if you add a packet of woodchips over the grill guards. If you use a grill pan inside, add some smoked paprika with the other seasonings!
I also chose to puree the beans, tahini, oil, and spices, but finely diced the scapes and onion, adding them at the end to provide a little more texture.
Now, let’s have a party, even a socially distanced one!
Smoky Grilled Garlic Scape Hummus
- 4 or 5 garlic scapes
- 1 sweet onion
- 1 large lemon or two small
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 can no-salt chickpeas and liquid
- 1/3 cup sesame tahini
- 1/3 cup canola or grapeseed oil
- ½ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
- A few crushed pink peppercorns
Trim off the very bottoms of the scapes which might tend to be tough, and the very thin tips, which are also tough. Don’t trim off the flower bud, that’s the best part! If they are extremely long, cut in half to make grilling easier. Slice the onion carefully to keep the rings intact. Zest the lemon (reserve), cut off the tips, and cut in half again at the equator.
Grill the vegetables until they are tender, keeping them on the cool side of the grill. A little longer is better. One trick to grill the scapes is to weigh them down with a bacon press or a heavy pot! Otherwise, you’ll have trouble trying to keep them flat. They don’t take long, so keep an eye on them.
Reserve the scape heads for garnish and chop the rest. Chop up the onion as well, and reserve all.
Drain the chickpeas, but reserve the liquid.
In a food processor, add the chickpeas and tahini and pulse until combined. Add the oil, cumin, and salt, along with most of the bean liquid. You might not need all of it.
Process until nice and smooth and fluffy, adding more bean liquid if you like, or even some water if there’s not enough liquid.
Place in a mixing bowl and add the diced-up onion and scapes, lemon zest, and squeeze in the juice of the lemons. I like to save a couple of slices to garnish. Mix until combined.
Taste and correct the seasoning. Place in a serving bowl and top with the reserved scapes, lemon slices, and a sprinkling of crushed pink peppercorns.
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