There’s nothing like the intense flavor (or the smell) of an onion. Wild onions were among the first foods that mankind gathered and ate and are one of the first signs of spring. Onions are in the allium family, along with garlic and shallots. Spring onions are one of my favorite varieties. Spring onions are also called green onions, young onions, pencil onion and scallions. Scallions aren’t as fully ripened as a green onion and should not have a bulb. Spring onions are the milder, first stage of a mature onion. If left in the ground to grow, they’ll form into an onion bulb.
Larger, older, spring onions may have limp or faded stalks and a stronger flavor than the smaller ones. Spring onions should be small and thin, with a firm base at the root tip and crisp, bright green leaves. Select spring onions that are not fully developed with a white bulb end and long green stalks. The flavor of the leaves is milder than the root end. Spring onions will keep for five to seven days when wrapped in plastic and stored in the refrigerator.
Spring onions are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, calcium and fiber. They also contain a substance that prevents the formation of blood clots. Eating onions also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
To prepare spring onions, cut off the roots and peel away the outer layer to remove any lingering dirt. Next, rinse the leaves, spreading them gently with your fingers to get at the dirt in the crevices. Both parts are edible. Although the white bulb is most often listed as part of recipes, the green leaves should also be incorporated in the recipes and as a garnish.
You also can use the leaves to add a wonderful burst of green color, to tie up appetizers into a package or to use as a frilly, edible garnish. To curl the ends, cut off the roots and all but about 3 inches of the green tops. Slice the tops lengthwise down from the green end into the white section. Put the leaves in cold water and chill for several hours to curl them.
While spring onions are best served raw, they’re also delicious grilled or sauteed. Spring onions should be added during the final stages of a recipe for maximum flavor.
This Spring Onion Pesto is the perfect way to flavor couscous or orzo pasta, to tuck under the skin of chicken, or to place on fish or pork before grilling or baking.
SPRING ONION PESTO
6 green onions, root ends removed, white bulbs and tops chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
Using a food processor or a blender, finely grind the spring onions, garlic and lemon zest. Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper. Slowly drizzle in olive oil until everything is well-combined and creamy. Make up to 24 hours before using. Place the pesto in an air-tight container and refrigerate.
Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is www.divapro.com. To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis.
© 2021 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis