When I recently came home with two bunches of garlic scapes*, I wanted to do something super quick with them. I also had a lot of volunteer cilantro in my garden. So instead of making my garlic scape chimichurri, I wound up just blitzing the scapes and cilantro with olive oil in my food processor, and I had a condiment no time.

I used some of it, mixed with a little mayo, to coat cod filets before roasting, and garnished the cooked fish with more. I tossed some of it with a saute of Japanese turnips. I dabbed some into Quick-Roasted Plum Tomatoes. And I mixed some with unsalted butter to top roasted sweet potatoes.

A bit of the pesto mixed with mayo coats the fish before roasting; more tops it for serving.
Susie Middleton

You could certainly take the puree further and put nuts or Parmigiano in it for a real pesto. And the amount of olive oil is up to you, too, depending on whether you want to spoon or drizzle the puree. Just be sure to finely slice your garlic scapes before putting them in the food processor.

*FYI garlic scapes are the green tops of hardneck garlic, harvested in early June so that the plant’s energy will all be directed to the bulb.

Makes a scant cup


  • ¾ cup thinly sliced garlic scapes
  • ¾ cup lightly packed cilantro leaves
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, more if you like


1. Put the garlic scapes and the cilantro leaves in the bowl of a medium-sized food processor. Process, pulsing many times, until the scapes and cilantro are very finely chopped. Add a big pinch of kosher salt and all the olive oil. Process again until the mixture lightens in color and emulsifies a bit. It will look somewhat creamy but the scapes will still be in tiny pieces.

2. Store in a glass jar, covered with a bit more olive oil if you like to keep the top layer of color green, and refrigerate for up to a few days.

3. Bring to room temperature before using and add a touch more olive oil if you like.