From Garden Plot to Pizza Pan

Susan cuts a garlic scape

If you had asked me 10 years ago what a “scape” was, I probably would have ventured a guess that it was some geological feature—perhaps something like land-scape.


Gardening friends in recent years have clued me in. A scape is a flowering stem, usually leafless, of a plant. Veggie gardeners for years have been enjoying scapes that super-market buyers probably haven’t encountered—garlic scapes.

Susan Levi-Goerlich invited me to her plot at Westside Community Gardens, a part of Columbia Gardeners, Inc., to inspect the rapidly growing scapes on the hardneck garlic she planted last October.

As she cut a handful of scapes with her Swiss army knife, I asked whether the garlic flower would be lavender, like the chives flower.

“I don’t know,” Susan said. “I cut all the scapes so that the plant’s energy goes to filling out the bulb, so I’ve never seen a bloom.”

These scapes will get a 3-mile bicycle ride
in 95-degree weather to Susan’s refrigerator

With her knife she sliced through the wider part of the scape near the tip, which would have become the flower. It was whitish, but obviously far from flower stage.

“What does it taste like?”

“Garlicky.” She handed me the scape she had just cut and I bit off a piece.

“Wow!” I said. “Yes, garlicky, really strong.” My sinuses instantly were the clearest they have been in years.

“Our family loves potato and scape pizzas,” Susan said. “I’ll send you the recipe for both the topping and dough I use.”

I searched for information about scapes on the internet and discovered that they’ve become available at some farmers’ markets in recent years, and lots of garlic scape recipes are available online. I’ll add a typical link below, after Susan’s recipes.

Susan’s Garlic Scape & Potato Pizza
Photo by Susan Levi-Goerlich

Garlic Scape and Potato Pizza
Adapted from recipe by Janet Fletcher, San Francisco Chronicle

1/3 pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing dough
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Garlic scapes (about 8, cut into ½” lengths)
Coarse cornmeal (polenta), for dusting baking sheet
8 ounces whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated
3 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or rosemary

Pizza dough for 1 pizza

To make the topping, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush sliced potatoes with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil, and then season with salt and pepper. Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until the potatoes are done but not brown, about 10 minutes. Watch carefully as they burn easily. Use a spatula to transfer them to a plate.

Increase the oven temperature to 475 degrees and preheat a baking stone for at least 20 minutes.
Heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over moderately low heat. Add the garlic scapes. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool.

Dust a rimless baking sheet with cornmeal. Punch down pizza dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 13- to 14-inch round. Transfer to the baking sheet.

Working quickly so the dough doesn’t stick, top first with mozzarella, then with sliced potatoes, garlic scapes, crumbled goat cheese, thyme (or rosemary).

Carefully slide the pizza onto the hot baking stone.  Bake until the crust is browned and the topping is bubbling, about 8 minutes.

Pizza Dough

Mix together and knead:
1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons yeast

If using a stand mixer to knead, knead about 4 minutes. If kneading by hand, knead about 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

After kneading, set aside in an oiled bowl in a warm place to rise until doubled (about an hour). After it’s risen, gently stretch and flatten by hand on round pizza pan sprinkled with corn meal. If the dough is sticking to your hands, oil your hands lightly with olive oil.

Top with desired sauce and toppings and cheese and bake 8-10 minutes in a 450 degree oven.

Additional recipes: To link to a website, 2 Sisters Garlic, featuring scape recipes, CLICK HERE.

One Comment on “From Garden Plot to Pizza Pan

  1. This sounds delicious! When my garlic scapes, I'll try it. Yes, the flowers are white if you let them be.

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