Friday, June 1, 2012

Farm Fridays: Barbecue Turkey Burger with Garlic Scapes

Having a weekly blog feature seems a little silly if that's the only day of the week I ever post. My schedule has filled up, so posting more than once a week may be more difficult than it sounds. This was the first week of my summer course - Monday to Thursday for six weeks - and I'm already exhausted. Past experience has shown me that I love to teach, but this course has taken it to a new level. I left my first lecture with a giddy grin across my face that stuck around through most of my drive home. I enjoyed teaching US history, and I enjoyed teaching writing, but teaching something I'm truly passionate about is a new experience. Hopefully the excitement and happiness will help me overcome the fatigue - especially as the summer harvest really begins to kick in. Being too tired to cook when I get home is not an option!

Greens are still dominating my CSA share this week, but non-greens are beginning to slip into my basket too. This week I got three heads of lettuce and two of bok choy (all a bit holey from last week's hailstorm, but I don't think I'd have noticed if I didn't know to look for it). There was also another pound of spinach, another quarter pound of arugula, a bunch of French breakfast radishes, a pint of strawberries and a pile of ropey garlic scapes.

Garlic scapes were probably the most exciting discovery I made as a first-time CSA member last year. The scape, sometimes known as green garlic, is the stem of the garlic blossom, plucked before it has a chance to flower. Scapes are smooth and pretty, last a long time in the fridge, and have a delicious garlic flavor - all virtues in my book. When I thought about doing something special with these scapes, the delicious turkey burgers Jeff made a few weeks ago came to mind. The day we made those, I had made a pint of chive blossom vinegar. After I cut off the blossoms, I sliced up the chive blossom stems (essentially the same as scapes) and tossed them in with the burger meat, imparting a nice little chivey flavor. I figured garlic scapes would pack an even more flavorful punch, and I was not disappointed.

Ground turkey has a reputation for being dry (due to its low fat content), but a healthy helping of barbecue sauce takes care of that. We used some charred chile barbecue sauce we canned last summer. It's a little hot for my taste, but mixing it into a burger tones it down. I felt the heat building after I'd finished about half the burger, but it never got overwhelming. The scapes, which we sauteed in a bit of olive oil before adding, were more than able to hold up to the strong flavors of the barbecue sauce. I tasted garlic in every bite. Add some crunchy fresh kale, fancy roasted red pepper ketchup, and a fresh French roll, and you've got one delicious burger. You should try this. Soon.

Barbecue Turkey Burgers with Garlic Scapes
Makes two delicious burgers.

1 1/2 tbsp garlic scapes, sliced
1 tsp olive oil
8 oz ground turkey
2-3 tsp barbecue sauce (we used home-canned charred chile sauce)
3 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (we used oregano and parsley)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a grill to 400°F

Back on the stove, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic scapes and saute 3-4 minutes, until softened.

In a medium bowl, combine the turkey, barbecue sauce, herbs, sauteed garlic scapes and salt and pepper. Mix well, then divide in half and form into burger patties.

Gently place the patties on the grill (be careful - the patties will be moist and will want to ooze down into the grill). Cook about 5 minutes on one side. Turn the heat down to 325°F and grill another 3-4 minutes, until cooked through.

Serve on fresh buns with your choice of greens and fancy ketchup!


  1. Ok, but tell me something about this: chive blossom vinegar?!

    What are you using it for? Salad dressing? Or more devious plans...

  2. I have no idea what to use it for. So far I've only splashed a little on some rainbow chard that was wilted in olive oil with garlic. The flavor is interesting. It definitely tastes like vinegar and it definitely tastes like chives, but there's a sweetness to it as well. And it's a pretty pink color (it started out lavender but it seems to be getting pinker with age). This is where I got the idea: