I’m Fancying Spring Onions-How About You?

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Now that ramp season is nearing an end (did that go fast, or what?), I have been turning a culinary eye towards spring onions. Delicate, mild and even sweet, spring onions can be used raw in salads but perhaps shine best when they are grilled or roasted for caramelization.

Unlike fall/winter or “storage” onions, spring onions have a delicate skin and need no peeling. They also have a higher water content. Shaped like a green onion, or scallion, spring onions have a defined white or red-skinned bulb attached to a long green stalk-whick unlike the leek, is fully edible.

My current fascination with eating these lovely onions began with a recent meal at Taqueria Poblano. As a side to my usual L.A. style crispy tacos with adobo-seasoned pork, I ordered Cebollitas-charcoal-grilled baby onions. Frank looked at me like I had two heads when the dish was set on our table. After all, I could have ordered a side of refried beans-but I was feeling the onions and wanted a change of pace.

Amazing. The char and the sweetness of the cooked onions was amazing. I could have put whole onions in my mouth! No- I didn’t, but I wanted to! So since then, I have been eager to buy freshly picked spring onions from my local farmers markets.

Last Sunday, I purchased a beautiful bundle of red-tipped spring onions from J&W Valley View Farm in Wesmoreland County, VA at the Alexandria West End Farmers Market. I used them in two meals, and wanted to share the methods of cooking and using them with you all.

First, I made an Italian Sausage, Roasted Spring Onion and Fresh Mozzarella Pizza (head over to www.dcfoodies.com for the recipe!). While my pizza stone was heating in the oven at 475 degrees, I roasted some of the spring onions for 10 minutes on a roasting pan, dressed with olive oil, salt and pepper. The result was excellent caramelization on the bottom of the bulbs. The green stalks cooked until some of them got crunchy and a bit charred. Actually, I covered the green stalks with foil after about 6 minutes to stop the browning, and you can decide how much you would like them to cook just by checking them while cooking, and covering them up if you like.

Last night, I made a terrific salad using fresh spinach from J&W, grilled chicken, Westmorland County, VA strawberries, Gorgonzola cheese, pecans and grilled spring onions.

While grilling chicken breasts on a cast iron grill, I plopped down a few spring onions and let them char and caramelize for a few minutes. They were terrific with their sweetness and a bit of bitterness from the char.

It’s spring. I’m in love.

Ah.

What are you fancying this time of year? Share in the comment section!

12 Responses to “I’m Fancying Spring Onions-How About You?”

  1. I love the cebollitas at Tacqueria Poblano! I try to make ‘em on my own as often as I can.

  2. Spring onions are already pretty – but you just made them 10 times more gorgeous!

  3. I am a lover of any kind of grilled onions, so these sound wonderful. I’ve never seen spring onions here, but I need to start looking harder!

  4. Hi Deborah and Hillary-these are as delicious as they look. Spring onions is my new foodie find! I’m a bit obsessed at the moment!

  5. We are getting some beautiful spring onions down at Farmers’ market here in DC. So I have tried adding them to an omelet and pickling them, but this sounds like a great preparation!

  6. Hi Luke,
    I’ve been eating them plain roasted, on pizza, in scrambled eggs and fritattas! I just bought another bunch-goog for the blood!

  7. After seeing your post, I tried these last night. So freaking good!

  8. Pretty addictive, huh? ;-)

  9. I had some spring onions grilled last night at Dino. For an appetizer, I got a plate of eggplant, asparagus, artichoke, spring onions, leeks, ramps, and some fennel. it was really great. since i figured i would be full from my entree, I had them boxed up. very good for lunch today!
    I was curious how you grill them (spring onions) when you prepare them. When I grill, I usually use one of those wire baskets/woks. however, i am nervous the balsamico will just drip right off into the grill.

  10. Hi Dave,
    Since our gas grill’s innards literally crumbled on Memorial Day when I was all set to grill out for the first time this year-I had to grill them on a cast iron grill.
    I coated them with evoo, s&p (and balsamic if you’d like) and let them go onto a really hot grill.
    I found that oven-roasting works really well also-and to me, was easier than having to clean my cast iron grill.
    We are going to get another gas grill soon, and I will definitely use my (asparagus) basket to grill them. You don’t want to lose on of those puppies between the grates!
    Regarding the balsamic dripping-you could make a balsamic reduction (almost to a syrup) and brush it on towards the end of grilling. That would make anything really shine.

  11. I often cross the US/Mexico border to eat dinner. They provide these delicious grilled onions automatically, at no extra charge. Yum!

  12. Hey!

    I just discovered the blog and hope to read more. My “spring” onions came from the Bestway in Del Rey, though I frequented the West End Farmer’s market in summer and fall. I picked up several bunches and wondered what to do. I’m steaming some beets in the oven for a beat and chevre salad, plan on a mushroom risotto, and this approach hits the trifecta!

    Cheers

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