Each spring I look forward to garlic scapes -- the flowering stem of the garlic which appears in the spring. Generally this should be cut off the plants to allow the bulb to develop more fully (just like trimming of the flowers of herbs).
These tender little shoots of garlicky goodness are available for a very short time in the spring. Because they are fragile they don't travel well, and it is not likely to see these in stores; rather, they are commonly found at farmers' markets.
In C'ville we are fortunate to have a couple markets throughout the week and last Wednesday, Big J brought home a lovely bundle of the scapes. I've used them a few different ways (stir fried and grilled, for example), but my favorite has been in a carbonara with garlic scapes and peas. After cooking the bacon, I quickly sauteed the scapes then added the peas. When the pasta was ready I tossed them together and added the egg and parmesan mixture. After the sauce was done, I placed it is a serving bowl, topped the pasta with bacon and italian parsley from the garden. Yum! It was creamy with a subtle garlic flavor, enhanced by the sweetness of the peas. Wonderful! Now, if only I could get the pea harvest to coincide with the scapes!