Saturday, June 19, 2010

Garlic Curlies.

I found myself at the Boulder Farmer's Market this afternoon. It was mid-afternoon, and tender spring greens wearily wilted in the heat. The closing hour drew near, and people walked quickly through the alley of stands; unlike the morning saunterers who are assured a harvest, I, a late one, rightly got the leftovers.

And so I joined in this promenade for produce. I wanted a tomato. Not just any tomato. For, I admit I had an "any tomato" sitting at home. I craved one that smelled like a tomato vine. You know, that smell of humid garden vines freshly picked tomatoes have? They hold the smell in the stubby stems left from picking, long enough to get from the field to my nose. Then later, taking the remaining petiole and removing it from its fruit, releases again this a time-release air-freshener.

This olfactorial orgasm would be my one indulgence of the day, I promised myself. You see, I have a bad habit at Farmer's Markets, at any produce section for that matter: I want to buy everything, every vegetable, fruit, tuber and leaf. I had just been through this frantic gathering in the produce section yesterday, and resultantly, had an overstuffed fridge. I had a tomato. But, I wanted a fresh one! One that fragranced of farm. And, one that came with a caterpillar. Store tomatoes don't come complete with curious critters. This infant lepidoptera's ride, almost into my salad bowl, made my dinner tangible; Nature's manifest promise of transfiguration...

I broke my promise. I bought more than one tomato...

I was seduced by curls. Green curls of garlic. How could I resist these locks? A bucket of what appeared to be curly chives, or some dried underwater sea creature of some kind, sang as sirens, interrupting my tomato seeking. Garlic Curlies?! Oh really now, I must have those! I had past tables of wicker baskets filled with garlic bulbs, chives, leeks, scallions, and scapes. Yes, scapes...the identical thing at which I was looking...intrigued and captivated. Advertised as "scapes," I walked by, unfazed in my tomato seeking delirium; but, Garlic Curlies? Those could not be passed by. I privately confessed my transgression of oath, and picked out a handful of curly garlic scapes for $1.25.

It is strange that the scape, if left growing atop the garlic bulb scenting the daylight, actually stunts the bulb's growth. Farmers thus trim these scapes to stimulate the garlic bulbs to keep growing. Now, why garlic scapes aren't found as regular companions to their bulbs in markets and grocers everywhere; that, is beyond me. Where do all these scapes go? For, there is no lack of garlic bulbs. But, can you remember the last time you saw a garlic scape in a grocery store? Do most farmers hoard these tender tendrils, much preferring their subtlety to that of the earthen cloves?

I sautéed these curlies in olive oil, just as the beguiling sign instructed, and I slowly welcomed soft nuances of garlic...

~ Indulgences ~

Garlic scapes
Red leaf lettuce
Olive oil
Red wine vinegar
Sea salt
Freshly cracked pepper


  1. Remember when we would find these little green riders in our garden fresh broccoli?

  2. Oh indeed; and, I also remember being scared to eat broccoli for awhile. Still, I now soak and rinse florets with extra vigor!

  3. I too have an obsession with buying WAY too much produce for one person to consume in a reasonable amount of time. I love having it all in my fridge though. I also love the smell of a touched tomato vine, it clings to your skin and reminds me of late summer. Delicious!

  4. I have way to ripe tomatoes in my fridge right now...but in a way, it's comforting to have food stored. Like a squirrel for winter...

  5. I have a confession. I had no intention of buying any today but while I was at the grocery store I touched the tomatoes on a vine so I could catch the aroma. Man was it enjoyable!

  6. hehe...I pick up produce that I'm not going to buy and smell it too....people look at me like I'm mental! ;)

  7. So glad to know I'm not the only one!!!