Wednesday, December 7, 2011

in praise of scallions

The tangle of long green tresses just screamed Rapunzel. I had come upon a huge, beautiful bunch of scallions at a farmers market in Florida not long ago, the roots grown together in a matted mass with dirt still clinging to them. What a nice find! I immediately wanted to throw the entire bunch onto a charcoal grill and singe those long oniony locks with grill marks.
 This is a much depleted portion of the original bunch. Most supermarkets trim the tops of scallions so they make a neater package. I love the unruliness of the wilder state.

Scallions are genius.  They hold no glamor in the culinary world, but their versatility and resiliency under just about any cooking technique make them a must have in the kitchen. Throw them in to just about any savory dish and they add a freshness with their gentle bite and bright color. Slice them thin, the perfect round shape is instant eye candy and make a cheery garnish.  Use them raw in a simple green salad to add complexity. Put a single, slender bulb into a blender with oil, vinegar and salt for a salad dressing with a touch of attitude. A scallion or two in scrambled eggs will redefine your breakfast.
Sliced scallions look great on top of just about anything, even my wobbly hand made plate.

Cook them until wilted and add to vegetables, grains, soups, anything!  I rely on scallions to bring an immediacy to meals made from pantry staples like rice and beans.  Sauteed with oil or butter, a handful of scallions will make a satisfying topping for pasta.
Scallions are inexpensive, they easily keep for upwards of two weeks when stored in the fridge and the mild oniony flavor is always welcome. Many recipes call for using only the white part of a scallion, but I use the whole thing, and actually prefer the tender green tops to the white, fleshier bottom.
A bunch of scallions will get you through a long winter and are one of my most dependable ingredients.

Over the summer I took a pottery class at Brick House ceramic art center in Long Island City, an efficiently run studio with a friendly, un-intimidating atmosphere. The knowledgeable instructors at Brick House encouraged us all to be free to create our hearts desire. I compulsively began making serving dishes and bowls featuring undulating scalloped edges. My handbuilding skills are truly rudimentary, but I got deeply engrossed in the process of shaping the wet clay between my fingers and allowing my very relaxed mind to dictate the direction of the creation. The vessels ended up looking like variations of wavy lumps, but I am hooked and can't wait to take class again next summer.
RECIPE: This is a simple combination of sauteed onions and zucchini with a handful of chickpeas and cherry tomatoes bound together with a dollop of tomato sauce (plopped into the center of one of my handmade bowls.) Simmer for a few minutes to meld the flavors and add a large dash of hot sauce and a sprinkle of sliced scallions to bring up the heat.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. Spammers have forced me to now review every comment before publishing. So please bear with me as I read through your comment. Thank you for visiting the blog!