Disclosure: Cabot Creamery compensated The Recipe ReDux (co-owned by ReganMillerJones, Inc. and Teaspoon Communications), to sponsor this recipe contest. We are therefore not eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. Opinions expressed are our own.
I’ve tasted green garlic and garlic scapes only at restaurants, but upon inspiration from my gardening guru sister and Deanna’s simple Tomato and Garlic Scape Pasta Sauce recipe, I planted some of my mother-in-law’s beautiful heirloom garlic last fall. That’s right, I planted something I’ve never really seen (except in the form of tiny green flecks); actually, this concept has become quite fashionable – it’s called grow what you can’t find or is too expensive to buy.
My understanding of the definitions of green garlic vs. garlic scapes is this: The green garlic looks similar to a green onion with green leaves that are about 12 inches long and usually contain the young whiteish-purple garlic bulb attached to the leaves. Garlic scapes are long often curled green garlic leaves that stretch 2-3 feet and are not attached to a bulb; farmers cut the scapes to produce healthy garlic bulbs that are later dug up and dried to produce a garlic head.
I’ve been unable to wait until my green garlic grows into garlic scapes. So I snipped off the the shorter leaves – but left the bulb behind to grow a bit more…since I do not have a garlic farm, but only about 5 garlic plants! The question was, what to do with these green leaves I’ve been warned can be quite pungent and over-powering? The answer, of course is to make an ultimate comfort food: grilled cheese sandwich. The result: Grilled Cheddar, Bacon & Pear with Green Garlic Pesto.
Since we’re excited about the sponsorship of a Recipe ReDux member recipe contest, “It’s New To You” – featuring Cabot reduced-fat cheeses paired with a new ingredient you’ve never cooked with, Deanna and I collaborated on this post. She took the beautiful photos of this delicious sandwich. She also reminded me that Cabot’s 75% Reduced-Fat Cheddar is the perfect cheese for the pesto because it has superior “grateability,” i.e. it grates better than most Cheddars due to its reduced moisture content so it’s a great swap in for Parmesan cheese when finely grated.
This sandwich is based on this simple one from Relish magazine; but it has received many adaptations over the month to provide comforting family suppers at our house. I knew I wanted to make a fresh green garlic pesto, so I gave the sandwich a healthy makeover too. The results were delicious with the fresh pear and the nutty cheddar complementing the tangy, garlicky, walnut pesto. And a little bacon just makes everything taste even better.