Pickled Garlic Scapes in Oil

Pickled Garlic Scapes in Oil

The city of Sulmona, in Abruzzo, is famous for its red garlic. The bulbs, with their gorgeous, fat, purple-red-clad cloves, grow in the surrounding Peligna Valley. The garlic is prized for its intense fragrance and for its keeping ability. It is a staple at the farmers’ market, where you will often find it hanging or stacked in braided lengths. The scapes from the plant—the long, swirly green stalks—are harvested in spring. This allows the plant to focus its energy on growing the bulb. The scapes, called zolle in the local dialect, are enjoyed fresh or turned into these delicious pickles. The garlic flavor in the scapes is mild and appetizing. Serve pickled scapes with cheese and salumi as part of an antipasto platter.

1 pound (454 g) garlic scapes
2 C. (473 g) white wine vinegar
1 tsp. fine sea salt
Extra-virgin olive oil

4 sterilized 1/2-pint jars and their lids

Cut the scapes into 11/2- to 2-inch lengths, removing any tough parts at the bottom and the thinnest part at the top above the small bulbous tip. In a saucepan large enough to hold all the scapes, bring the vinegar to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and let it dissolve. Add the scapes to the pot and cover. Return the vinegar to a boil, cover, and boil, stirring once or twice, until the scapes have lost their bright green color and are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain the scapes in a colander set in the sink. Spread on a clean kitchen towel and let dry for about 1 hour. Shuffle them around once or twice during this time to make sure they dry on all sides. Pack the scapes into the jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. Pour enough olive oil into the jars to cover the scapes completely. Use a bubble remover or a clean chopstick to dislodge any bubbles and press down on the scapes to submerge them. Screw the lids on tightly and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Let the scapes cure in the refrigerator for at least 1 week before using, then store in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. To serve, remove from the jar only as much as you plan to use and let it come to room temperature. Top off the jar with more oil as necessary to keep the remaining scapes submerged.

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