While summer usually heralds the end of asparagus season, buying it ultra fresh means that I can usually hoard a bunch or two of fresh asparagus for another week or so beyond the end of its season.
What’s also interesting about the rhythm of vegetable seasonality, the garlic scape (green shoots of the hard-neck variety of garlic), tend to show itself just as asparagus season ends. Visually they’re both long, green and of similar thickness, but garlic scapes have an extra swirly curl and bulbous nodule near the tip (and it’s really garlicky in flavour…duh 😉 ). Everything above the bulbous area isn’t edible, so it is trimmed away.
Their similarities lend themselves to working together. A bridge to tie the green beauty of spring to the bold vibrancy of summer. And with a heat wave sinking in, a quick blanch of both sandwiched into a grilled cheese is just right today.
Asparagus and Garlic Scape Grilled Cheese Sandwich:
6 fresh asparagus spears, cut in half
2 fresh garlic scapes, cut into similar lengths to the asparagus halves (if possible but because of the curly nature of the scapes, you may have to cut it smaller and assemble accordingly in the sandwich)
4 slices whole wheat sandwich bread
1/4 cup softened butter
100g/4 oz gruyere cheese, thinly sliced
50g/2 oz pecorino cheese, grated
In a small pot over medium high heat, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add the garlic scapes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the asparagus with the garlic scapes and cook for a further 3-4 minutes until both are crisp tender. Remove from the boiling water and immediately immerse into ice water to stop the cooking process and maintain the vibrant green colour.
Spread the whole wheat bread slices with the softened butter. Set aside.
In a nonstick pan or griddle over medium heat, place a buttered piece of sandwich bread, buttered side down in the preheated pan. Cover with gruyere slices, grated pecorino, blanched and cooled asparagus and garlic scapes. Add another slice or two of gruyere cheese and top with another buttered slice of sandwich bread, buttered side up. Griddle for 4-5 minutes until deeply golden brown on one side.
Flip the sandwich and griddle for another 4-5 minutes until that side is deeply golden and the cheese is melted. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serves 2.
….Yes I just went into excruciating detail into how to make a grilled cheese sandwich. It was an exercise in simplicity. Thanks for reading along!! (But seriously, the garlicky asparagus thing is good, just eat a bowl of those blanched babies as a snack. So good!!)