So many incredible meals start with an onion. They are an absolute must in the kitchen, and the base for the stews and soups that helped us survive the winter. But now it’s spring –time to cheat on them with their fresh and fragrant cousins before the season is over.
all sospring alliums—leeks, scallions, ramps, green garlic, scallions, and chives, just to name a handful –share a similar basic taste with the ubiquitous bulb onion, but their exciting range of intensity, sweetness and spiciness can contain so much more complexity in a meal. Show them off in these five recipes that bring their flavor to the fore.
A green, spicy pasta primavera
By name alone, this is the pasta dish that defines spring. This pasta primavera is super heavy allium, but the acid of the lemon tempers the onion flavor, so it doesn’t overwhelming. The result is a crisp, almost refreshing pasta dish that really tastes like spring.
- 1 pound Cavatelli or Orecchiette
- 2-3 teaspoons butter
- 2 leeks, chopped
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced (both white and green parts); keep a hand aside for garnish
- 3 spring onions, sliced (both white and green parts)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¼ cup peas
- 1 cup asparagus, roughly chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 handful of chopped parsley
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Bring a pan of water to the boil with a generous pinch of salt—and by pinch i mean a full claw. (A whole tablespoon, iif you want To be precise† Cook your pasta until al dente, or about two minutes less than the recommended cooking time. Drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Meanwhile, heat your butter in a frying pan or saucepan until light brown. Add all your alliums—leeks, spring onions, spring onions and garlic—and cook for three to five minutes, or until tender and fragrant. Add asparagus and peas and cook until clear and soft, about seven or eight minutes. Add salt taste, remember that the pasta water will add its own salt content.
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Throw in your pasta, lemon juice and zest, pasta water and some sturdy stools of black pepper or red pepper flakes (or both). After a few minutes on low heat you should have a light, creamy sauce. Serve with more Parmesan cheese, top with freshly chopped scallions and parsley, and get ready to devour the spicy goodness.
Leek stewed in butter
Leek could be my favorite allium simply because they are so conducive to eating all alone. In this recipe, the caramelization on the outside combines with the soft entrails and a rich but sour sauce, touch every note. If you’re looking for a meaty vegetable other than eggplant or artichoke, leeks are your friend.
- 2-3 leeks, the thicker the better
- 2-4 teaspoons butter
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 6 fresh sage leaves
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Grated Parmesan cheese to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cut your leek into round centimeters and discard the root and tip. Soak them in water for at least 10 minutes so that any dirt can float to the bottom, then drain and leave dry. Meanwhile, heat a frying pan and add your butter. Turn that around and then fry your leeks on both sides –about three minutes on the first side, two on the second. Be careful turning it over So they don’t fall apartand add butter if necessary to keep them from sticking or burning.
After your first try, add the sage and garlic and cook until fragrant, then tilt your pan and spoon all that garlic-sage butter over your leeks. When nicely caramelized, deglaze with a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and add a cup of stock. Braise for 15 minutes and finish with lemon zest, pine nuts and grated Parmesan cheese.
Speaking of eating leeks all by yourself, why not try grilling them and eating them whole? The best thing about this recipe is: how simple it is. By creating char and lots of caramelization, you let the leeks’ natural sugars take care of the taste, so all you need to add is a little oil and salt.
- 1-2 leeks per person
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
For this recipe, clean your leeks while still keeping them whole. Cut off the excess root, wash off the outer layer of dirt and sand, then make a lengthwise incision through the top third† Soak the leek in water for at least 10 minutes, so that any more dirt on the inside falls to the bottom.
Once clean, aarrange your leek on a very hot grill (450-500℉) for cooking, often twisting, until they are completely charred and begin to deform. Pull them off the grill and let them rest while packed in foil or newspaper for 10–20 minutes. †This extra time is essential for them to keep steaming and create the tender heart we seek.) Peel the charred outside and cut lengthwise to fit That buttery, steamed goodness. Garnish with olive oil and flakes of sea salt.
Spring onion potato gratin
sspring onions are really ordinary very young onions, harvested before they have had time to fully ripen. The result is an allium loads of milder in taste. Both the white and green part are edible, but vary in onion flavor from one end to the other, with the end of the lamp is the most powerful. In this recipe, we give the leek a break from its marriage to the potato to get a hearty dish that can serve as a side dish or as a full meal.
- ½ stick of unsalted butter
- 2 cups scallion, sliced (including white and light green portions)
- 6 Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
- Sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup broth
- Freshly grated Gruyere for coating
- Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste
- Juice of a lemon plus zest
Preheat your oven to 350℉ and put a pan or frying pan hot on the stove. Melt half the butter and let it cook until light brown and then add all those spring onions. Two cups sounds like a lot, but the milder green portions and the lemon’s acidity top it off. †Other option is combining a variety of alliums—leeks, green garlic, ramps, scallions, and onions all work –keep the total amount at 2 cups.) add garlic, and do not disturb until the bottoms of the spring onions are nicely browned. Add a splash of white wine to deglaze, followed by the stock, cream, remaining butter and thyme sprigs.
Simmer for 10–15 minutes, then toss the . away sprigs of thyme and add salt and pepper. Remove from fire. Place the potatoes in a separate baking dish and add the sauce and spring onion mixture between each layer, until the potatoes are completely covered. Sprinkle with grated Gruyere and bake for an hour, or until golden brown and bubbling on the sides.
Pancakes with spring onions
I really can’t think of a better way to taste the spring onions than in a scallion pancake. The key to the most flaky pancake is the same Like with a puff pastry: it’s all in the laminate. Even though all the rolling and spiraling feels like extra work, it is essential.
- 2 cups of flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup boiling water
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 bunch scallions, finely chopped; about ¾ cup
- Vegetable oil for frying
- Salt to taste
Sift flour and mix with sugar in a large bowl. Add boiling water and mix until a flaky dough is formed, adding an additional teaspoon of water if necessary to ensure all flour is included. knead for five minutes, until dough is smooth, cover and let rest for 30 minutes. Knead your rested dough for another five minutes and then cut it into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and then use a rolling pin to flatten it into thin, round pancakes. Brush each pancake with sesame oil and sprinkle with salt and chopped spring onions.
To achieve that sought-after flaking, roll each pancake in a twine so the scallions are tightly packed. Roll each rope into a tight spiral and let it rest for another 15 minutes. Then roll out each spiral and flatten it into a pancake again. This process is necessary to get you lamination needed to make scallion pancakes, similar to what you’re used to eating in restaurants.
To fry, heat oil over medium heat in a flat pan until very hot and easily coats the entire pan. Bake each pancake one at a time a minute or less per side, or until golden brown. You’ll probably want to lower the heat if the oil starts to splatter too much. Transfer each pancake to a paper towel until cool enough to work with, then cut into triangles. Ggarnish with salt and fresh spring onions and get to work†