Ahhh, green onions, or scallions, as they are also called. They are so rarely appreciated for themselves, but they are so delicious. They are also inexpensive, easy to grow, simple to prepare and good for you.
A cup of sliced green onions has just 32 calories but over 30 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C and nearly that much of folic acid, along with vitamin A, iron and 2 grams of protein.
Green onions are available year round, with the season peaking somewhat in early summer. For their size, green onions pack an enormous amount of flavor that is more gentle than other alliums. There is no substitute for green onions, though they can be used in place of chives if need be.
One way to enjoy them is to simply finish a dish with some that have been thinly sliced. Scrambled eggs, omelets, steamed rice, grilled meats and salads all benefit from such an addition. If you add green onions to, say, a stir-fry or fried rice, the dish will take on a Chinese flair, as they are ubiquitous in Chinese cooking, or at least in Chinese-American cooking.
Another way to enjoy them is grilled, either on an outdoor or stovetop grill. All they need is to be tossed with just enough olive oil to coat them and then turned a time or two while on the grill. Many Mexican restaurants and taquerias serve them this way. For a simple snack, wrap them, after grilling, in a warm corn tortilla, add a bit of salsa and there you have it.
If you are the industrious type, you can save the root ends after trimming them, plant them in a pot of soil and re-grow them in a window sill. It’s a perfect project for kids.
Green onion pancakes are one of the most popular dishes in Asian restaurants but they are very easy to make at home, too. To make them gluten-free, use all rice flour.
Green Onion Pancakes
Makes 8 pancakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose white flour, rice flour or a mixture of the two
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 cup warm water
— Toasted sesame oil
1 bunch (6 or 7) green onions, trimmed and cut into very thin slices
— Black pepper in a mill
— Coconut oil or other oil for frying
Put the flour or flours into a medium mixing bowl, add the teaspoon of salt and the warm water and combine thoroughly with a whisk or large wooden spoon. Keep mixing until the dough is quite smooth.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for several minutes, as it becomes very smooth and elastic.
Wipe the inside of the bowl clean so that it is smooth, add a few drops of sesame oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and set aside for 30 minutes.
If you have not already done so, prepare the green onions and season them with a few pinches of salt and several turns of black pepper.