A few days ago, I saw these garlic scapes (maneuljjong) in a Korean market for the first time this season. I was delighted and had to bring a couple of bunches home with me. Garlic scapes are the curly flowering shoots/stalks of garlic plants that are snipped off to allow the bulbs to grow bigger. They have a milder flavor than garlic cloves but are still quite garlicky. When cooked, the scapes become sweeter with a subtle garlic undertone and have a texture similar to that of thin asparagus. In Korea, garlic scapes are commonly used as a vegetable for side dishes. I pickled some of them in a soy brine, and ground a handful of them into a paste, which I added to grated potatoes to make potato pancakes. For this recipe, I stir fried the remaining scapes with walnuts in a soy sauce-based sauce. It's a simple and delicious spring side dish! If you haven't cooked with garlic scapes, make that a goal this spring. You're missing out on a wonderful vegetable! The scapes only appear in markets for a short period time, so grab them while you can.
10 ounces garlic scapes (maneuljjong)
1/2 cup shelled walnuts, broken into quarters
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
For the sauce:
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice wine
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon sugar (or brown sugar)
1 to 2 teaspoons corn syrup (or more sugar)
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds
Sauté the scapes for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly.