This garlic scape butter comes together easily for a flavorful summertime compound butter. It can also be frozen for later!
Here's a funny question for you: is there a way to improve upon butter?
No? Yes? Tell me more?
It's the darling of infinite yummy dishes, of course — the perfect injection of flavor and richness.
And while butter is more than capable of standing on its own two feet in any recipe, there are times when you can fancy it up a little.
This, my friends, is the special treat of compound butter.
With fresh ingredients like garlic scapes on hand, and a minimum amount of prep, you can quickly whip up this savory botanical butter. Then freeze it for later, and it'll be flavoring your menu for months to come!
What Is Compound Butter?
Compound butter simply means that it's been mixed with some other ingredient.
You can use other things too. I love making mushroom butter and using it in omelets (and, um, everything else!).
What Is a Garlic Scape?
It's the green top from a hardneck garlic plant.
Garlic scapes look a bit like chives, but they're curly! If left on the plant, they will eventually flower.
If you're not growing your own garlic, keep an eye out for scapes at farmers markets in summer, and maybe even at some specialty grocery stores.
Want more ideas for how to use them? Here are some suggestions.
What Do Garlic Scapes Taste Like?
Garlic scapes have a mild garlic flavor, but aren’t as strongly flavored as a fresh garlic clove.
So they're perfect for when you want something a bit subtle!
Can I Skip the Extra Herbs?
You sure can! Feel free to stick to the scapes and a little sea salt.
Is This Recipe Easy To Double?
Yes! The recipe will yield one stick of butter, but I like to make larger batches of compound butter and freeze it.
How to Make Garlic Scape Butter
Start by letting a stick of butter rest at room temperature until softened. This may take 30-60 minutes.
You can leave butter out for longer, though. Sometimes I let it soften overnight.
Meanwhile, dice the garlic scapes.
You'll notice each scape has a pale bulb-like segment. I normally cut those off. They're edible, but the texture can be stringy.
Next, add oil, scapes, and salt to a small pan. Cook them for a few minutes on medium-low heat until the scapes have softened.
You'll start to get a wonderful garlicky fragrance too!
You don't want the scapes to brown. As soon as they're softened, take the pan off heat and let it cool.
Empty the cooked scapes into a bowl, and fold in the softened butter with a spatula.
If you're adding extra herbs, like chopped basil, mix them in too at this point.
From this point on, it's just a matter of how you want to present your butter. If you like, you can form it back into a traditional log.
If the cooked scapes were too warm and they melted the butter, just let it solidify a bit (at room temperature) before you work with it.
If you're planning to use it the same day, you might refrigerate it for an hour or so. If refrigerated, try to use it all within a few days.
If you want it to last longer, freeze it! Wrap the log in parchment paper or plastic, and freeze it in an airtight container for up to six months.
For butter, parchment is a much better wrap than wax paper, which tends to stick.
Another option is to portion it out before freezing it. A silicone ice cube tray works well for this.
After the butter cubes have frozen, pop them out of the tray and into an airtight bag, and then back into the freezer. Then just take out what you need as the months go by!
How will you use your garlic scape butter? Maybe in a mushroom omelet, on some pan-seared fish, or atop a crusty slice of rosemary garlic sourdough bread. There are lots of uses – let us know your favorites!
Garlic Scape Butter
- ¼ pound unsalted butter, (1 stick)
- 4 garlic scapes (~3 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 tablespoons roughly chopped basil, optional (Or substitute another fresh herb, such as chives or thyme)
- Fully soften the butter by leaving it at room temperature for 30-60 minutes before proceeding.Optionally, remove the white bulb from the garlic scapes. (The bulb is edible but may be stringy)Finely dice the garlic scapes.
- Add the oil, scapes and salt to a small pan. Cook over medium low heat about 3-4 minutes, until the garlic softens and smells fragrant. Remove from heat before the garlic begins to brown.Set the pan aside for a few minutes to allow the garlic mixture to cool to room temperature.
- Scoop the garlic scapes into another pan or bowl. Use a rubber spatula to fold the softened butter into the scapes mixture.Add the basil, if using, and fold the butter again.Tip: If you accidentally melt all of the butter, simply set it aside and let it cool and harden before trying to form it into a log.
- To serve the same day:Scoop garlic scape butter into a serving bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving. Note that butter will harden again in the fridge, so if you want it to be spreadable, take out of the fridge a few minutes before serving.Refrigerate leftovers and use within 5 days.
- To store for later:Freeze in a log: Chill butter until it's cool enough to form, and then roll it into a log. Use parchment paper or a rubber spatula to help you form the log. Wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap, store in an airtight container, and freeze for up to 6 months. When you're ready to use the butter, simply slice off the amount you want to use and put the rest back in the freezer.Freeze in portions: Scoop butter into portioned molds (like a silicone ice cube tray), and freeze until hardened. Pop the butter out of the molds, transfer to an airtight bag, and use the butter within 6 months.