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