It's hard to appreciate the onset of Spring without considering the glorious bounty of new produce options at the farmers market. This week, I was enraptured by the spring onions.
Don't confuse a spring onion with its close counterpart, the long, thin scallion (or green onion). Spring onions are more petite than leeks, and look different from scallions because they will bulge near the root: they are simply young onions that have been pulled before they develop into conventional onions. These seasonal vegetables are milder than regular onions yet zippier and sweeter than green onions. Learn how to pick and enjoy them when you
Select bunches of spring onions that have perky leaves, a vivid green color, and a firm bulb that may be either white or purple (there is little difference in flavor between the two). They will store in a perforated bag in the refrigerator for several days. They don't last as long as regular onions and, like scallions, will turn slimy. To prepare, soak and wash thoroughly of all dirt and sand, and trim off the roots; cut off the top of the greens, and slice the bulb into rounds.
Because of their mild flavor, spring onions taste great in raw salads; they can also be grilled, roasted, or stir-fried. Use them in place of onions or scallions in a dish, or consider one of these ideas:
- Glaze onions in a sauté pan and serve as an agro-dolce appetizer.
- Reserve the tougher green tops for use in vegetable or chicken stock.
- Stir into mashed potatoes to make the classic Irish dish, champ.
- Caramelize and purée them in a creamy bisque.
What do you think of spring onions, and what are your favorite ways to enjoy them?