We picked up our first CSA yesterday. To say we were excited would be an understatement… you’d be better off describing us as giddy. Over produce. Local. Organic. Biodynamic. Incredible. Produce.
We’ve never done a CSA before, for various reasons. Moving. Out of town for too many weeks in the summer. Moving again. Farmers’ market just down the street. Moving. You get the picture. But this summer we had no excuses.
You never realize just how limiting grocery store produce can be until you see the other side; the incredible variety of vegetables, fruits, and herbs that can be grown on a single farm. Talk about trying new things, this particular meal contained two things we had never eaten before, let alone cooked. I present to you: beet greens and garlic scapes.
The greens, the result of the farmer thinning his beet crop for a better harvest, were surprising. I expected a bitter green, something along the lines of Kale or collards. But what we got was not bitter at all; rather, a rich, earthy flavor; almost like swiss chard or a hearty spinach. The stems were a bit tough (maybe we should have read the recipe and removed them, but their vibrant purple hue was just too pretty to toss), but the leaves were tender and delightful.
The garlic scapes, which are actually the green tendrils that grow out of a baby garlic bulb, need to be trimmed in the spring to allow the garlic bulb to fully develop. While they may look like green onions gone awry, the scapes are solid rather than hallow, and have a lightly garlic flavor without being overpowering. They are just as delicious raw (we sprinkled some over a salad) as they are sauteed. We’ve got a lot left (we only used 2 of the bunch tonight), so I’m sure you’ll see them popping up in our other meals throughout the week.
If you don’t have access to beet greens or garlic scapes, this recipe could be adapted in a myriad of ways depending on what is available to you. Swiss chard, broccoli rabe, or even spinach could take the place of the greens. No scapes? Just increase the garlic and call it a day. I also think the bruschetta would be delicious smeared with a soft cheese, like ricotta or a mild goat cheese, and then topped with the garlicky greens.
Our first CSA meal was an immense success; despite the unfamiliar ingredients. We are greatly looking forward the challenge that each week will bring, in the form of new and unusual ingredients that are anything but ordinary.
Beet Green and Garlic Scape Bruschetta
Makes 4 servings. Adapted from Epicurious.
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 garlic scapes, sliced
8 ounces beet greens, stems removed, leaves sliced
16 1/2-inch slices french baguette
coarse sea salt
Lightly brush baguette slices with 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Arrange in a single layer on baking sheet. Broil on high until lightly golden and toasted, about 1 minute. Remove from oven.
Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and scapes and stir 15 seconds. Add greens and sauté until tender, about 3 minutes.
Place toasts on platter. Top with greens. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Did you make this recipe?
Let us know what you think!
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This is delicious! I love the garlic flavor!
Made this last summer and came back to get the recipe again for this year. My father thought I was crazy to use beet greens, I guess he always just threw them away. Thank you so much for sharing.
This bruchetta looks great! We did a CSA a couple years ago, and I really enjoyed the cooking challenges that came from unfamiliar ingredients. It’s such fun! We had plenty of excuses for no CSA for a couple years, too, but now this summer we’ve started again. Our first pick up is next week, adn I can’t wait!
Beet stems are delicious too, they get tender and sweet if you dice them and saute in the oil for an extra few minutes before adding the leaves.
Oooooh this will be fun to hear about your CSA produce adventures! I subscribe to one also and sometimes run out of creativity on what to do with some of those things — especially lots of summer greens!
Very nice creation! Rustic Italian dishes are such a delicious way to enjoy traditional Southern produce. I think that cannellini beans would also be a nice addition!
Stunning pictures! I am a big fan of the beet, so I am sure that I would love the green too :)
Beautiful! It’s our first year for a CSA too – thanks for the inspiration.
What Nashville CSA are you with? I wish Devlin gave some interesting different things like yours…
Our CSA is through the Barefoot Farmer. I’ve heard that Delvin, since it is larger, does more mainstream type produce. We chose BF because everything grown is organic and biodynamic, plus the share sizes and pickup schedule worked perfectly for us. :)
I must say, I am very excited that you are doing a CSA. I’m jealous you seem to have the time, energy, & skills I’m lacking to make it spectacular! Can’t wait to see what else you do with all your bounty!
I love garlic scapes, especially sauteed with asparagus. Yum!
I have never tried garlic scapes but I am planning to soon! How fun it must be to get a fresh CSA box of goodies! I love what you did with your beet greens I would have done the same~
What a beautiful, simple meal! I need to thin my beets and my chives have scapes–thanks for the inspiration!
I yet to actually try to make something with garlic scapes. Bruschetta seems like a great start though and beet greens is one of the most under-rated greens in my opinion.
Great work on this!
You know what I’ve heard of and have been wanting to try? Garlic scape pesto. Unfortunately I don’t have access to garlic scapes. If you’re running out of garlic scape recipes to try, give it a shot!
Also the photos are great – I feel like the first one belongs in a coffee table book abut local produce!
What great produce and so wonderful that it is local, sustainable, organic and I am sure super delicious. I have never enjoyed garlic scapes but must find some to try. I will have to check out the Farmers Market @ the Ferry Building in SF this weekend. Thanks for sharing!
How good is tat …liked de idea of using the beet leaves on a bruschetta.
Loved ur pic Lindsay…so colorful n inviting.
Lovely idea…and beautiful photos!
Absolutely gorgeous colors! Smart to not get rid of the purple stem. We eat with our eyes first, right?
Keep the CSA posts coming. It intrigues me.