Always with the new vegetables, Orient in Bethpage! I stopped by today for lunch and owner Tommy Tan suggested I try what he called garlic stems. These turned out to be the very same garlic scapes I’d seen at the farmers market over the weekend. Scapes (or stems) are the tender stalks of young garlic plants that rise out of the soil months before the bulb is fully mature. Whole, foot-long scapes have a dramatic curl to them. At the Orient, as at many Chinese restaurants, they are cut into segments and then stir-fried, as if they were green beans.
The flavor is very mild, pleasantly garlicky but not colleague-repellingly so. Here the stems had been stir-fried with some strips of dried tofu for a pretty perfect lunch.
The Orient is at 623 Hicksville Rd. Bethpage, 516-822-1010.