Imagine sitting next to a farmers’ field somewhere in the south of France and being served an early summer Niçoise salad. It’s too early for beans, but fleurs d’ail are in season. They are succulent, salty and garlicy. They are softened, not by cooking, but from a few weeks of fermentation.
At this point you may be wondering, what are fleur d’ail or garlic scapes? They are the budding flower that comes just before the head of garlic is ready to harvest. It’s not something you would find in your average grocery store, but if you aren’t a gardener, you may be able to find them at your local farmers’ market in the months of May, June and July.
- 2 cups of garlic scapes (or as many as you can find)
- 1-2 tsp salt (non-iodized)
- Filtered water (chlorine free)
- Starter culture (see notes)
- Dice the garlic scapes as required to pack them into a glass jar.
- Sprinkle on the salt and starter culture
- Cover with water, and add a weight to keep them submerged.
- Ferment somewhere cool and out of sunlight for 1-2 weeks (depending on taste).
-Read up on Fermentation Basics to avoid making a mistake with this very special crop.
-I used whey as my starter, but you could also use sauerkraut juice or a purchased starter. This is really just an insurance policy to make sure that the ferment goes well.
-These are delicious on pasta, with a nicoise or on their own.
I have to give credit to a local fermenting maven for inspiring me to ferment my scapes.