Spring is the season of garlic scapes. It is a short season, so take advantage of it while you can as these tender stalks of allium ether will be gone before you know it. Eating garlic scapes is like playing hide and seek with garlic, you know it’s there, but you are not sure exactly where.
This was the best meal I’ve had in a long time. And likely the simplest to make. You can really use any cut of meat, particularly if you are cutting it thinly. But the combined flavors of the three simple ingredients are enough to make me want to emulate a Roman feast, but those are details I won’t get into here. Garlic and beef go together exceptionally well. And the shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) adds that additional level of umami (the contentious sixth flavor, meatiness) to the dish. My dinner mates were blown away by this and we are actively seeking more garlic scapes tomorrow.
While some people like to cut the garlic scapes into small pieces, I prefer long ones, that look and feel like string beans, but unlike string beans they are not string beans, they are garlic scapes. Let’s move on. If cooked quickly at a high heat, they retain their moisture and flavor, and impart the perfect counter texture to the steak. During preparation, you should cut the tips off the garlic scapes as they are tough and don’t soften when they cook. The stem of the garlic scape is tender, juicy, and lightly redolent of garlic without that garlicky bite. They add a tremendous amount of flavor without a lot of punch, which is perfect for most people. As a side note, if you have a lot of garlic scapes, garlic scape pesto is a treat, and that will be a follow up post.
The steak is most easily cut when slightly frozen. I can cut perfect, almost comically rectangular slices of beef when I leave the steak in the freezer for about 30 – 45 minutes (depending on the size) and then start cutting while the steak is slightly frozen. Or mostly thawing a frozen steak. This is not necessary, of course, it’s just fun and makes slicing steak easier. This dish was honestly the best I have had in a long time, and if you have access to garlic scapes, I highly recommend trying this recipe. But you may have to share more than you would like. I often serve it with brown rice, by the way, as the sauce is too good not to be soaked up.
- 1¾ lbs steak (I like sirloin for this)
- 1 bunch garlic scapes (about 7oz)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Remove the flowery tips of the garlic scapes and slice the stalks into the desired length.
- Slice the steak into strips and set aside.
- Heat a deep pan (I like a wok) with the oil and sear the garlic scapes for about five minutes, long enough to soften them a bit.
- Remove the garlic scapes and set aside.
- Cook the steak until it is almost done in the oil left in the pan.
- Drain the liquid that leeches from the steak (there will be a lot).
- Place the garlic scapes back in the pan, pour in the soy sauce and toss for a few minutes until everything is coated.