Cooking Cove: Scallions — The kinder, gentler onion

Cooking Cove: Scallions — The kinder, gentler onion

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By Barbara Beltrami

I think of scallions as the kinder, gentler member of the onion family. They have the flavor without the bitter aftertaste but offer the nuances of an onion-y taste. Suited more to delicate dishes than robust ones, they are especially nice in Asian-style cuisine. The other day I dug a lot of them out of my garden, brought them inside and vigorously washed the dirt off them. Then I trimmed them and laid them in a beautiful pyramid on my cutting board and realized I had more than I could use. Or did I? What about a creamy scallion soup? Or scallion pancakes? Or a scallion salad with radishes, cucumbers and herbs?

Creamy Scallion Soup

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

6 to 7 bunches of scallions

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 large potato, peeled and diced

6 cups chicken broth

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup snipped chives for garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Wash, trim and thinly slice the scallions. In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat melt butter with the olive oil; add scallions and, stirring often, cook until wilted but not browned. Add potato and chicken broth and over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potato is mushy; season with salt and pepper. Let soup sit until cooled slightly, about 15 minutes, then puree in food processor until smooth. Stir in cream; garnish with chives and serve hot, warm, at room temperature or cold with crusty bread and a tomato and cucumber salad.

Scallion and Kimchi Pancakes

Scallion and Kimchi Pancakes

YIELD: Makes 4 to 6 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

1 cup flour

1/2 cup rice flour

Coarse salt

1 egg, beaten

1 cup sparkling water, seltzer or club soda

6 scallions, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced

1 cup drained kimchi (Korean preserved cabbage)

1/4 cup liquid from kimchi 

1 tablespoon minced fresh red chile pepper

4 tablespoons vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300 F. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, rice flour, salt, egg, sparkling water and kimchi liquid. Stir in scallions, kimchi and chile pepper. In an 8″ nonstick skillet heat 1 to 2 teaspoons oil. Ladle half a cup of batter to cover bottom of skillet and form an 8” pancake. Cook, turning once, until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes each side; transfer to shallow baking pan or baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining batter. Cut each pancake into quarters and serve hot or warm with Korean dipping sauce. 

Scallion and Herb Salad with Radishes and Cucumbers

YIELD: Makes 6 to 8 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

8 scallions, washed and trimmed, whites and greens separated

3 tablespoons rice vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

Coarse salt to taste

1 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1 cup fresh arugula

6 to 8 radishes, washed, trimmed and very thinly sliced

1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and minced,

1 red chile, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds

DIRECTIONS:

Thinly slice scallion whites. In a large bowl, toss them with rice vinegar, sugar and salt; let sit about 10 minutes. Thinly slice scallion greens. Add them along with cilantro, arugula, radishes, cucumber, red chile, sesame oil and sesame seeds to scallion whites. Toss to combine all ingredients. Serve immediately with fish, poultry, pork or beef.

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