Said in the most positive possible way Spring is almost here! Time for salads and fresh foods to awaken us from our Winter slumber. Spring onions are fresh sweet and crisp and make a delicious addition to any lively recipe. The onion is a true Hero that makes it into almost every dish we cook. Spring onions are simply young onions, picked before the bulb has had a chance to swell.
The spring onion is good raw or cooked making it really quite versatile. Bafflingly people often throw away the green tops. I find their vivid green colour a must in a, tabbouleh, broth or salad. They’re delicious wilted and can replace any green in a dish as they’re so mild. To preserve the tops make a salsa verde instead of using just herbs. A salsa verde will keep in the fridge for a few weeks.
When buying spring onions look for crisp tops a firm bulb and good long root. Don’t worry if the outside is dirty. Give them a good wash and peel off the outer layer if necessary. Store them in the fridge in a plastic bag to help stop them drying out.
My favourite way to cook Spring onions is inspired by the classic Spanish dish calçot with romesco sauce. Charred on a barbecue or griddle, blackened, smokey and sweet. Calçot are a particularly sweet variety of spring onion but the dish works just as well with all varieties.
Cook 3 ways
Raw – Wash, trim the root and very tops if dry. Slice finely. Dress with olive oil and lemon juice. Add to any salad, I particularly like it with beans.
Grilled – Clean but leave whole with the root on. They’re best grilled on the barbecue but are also yummy seared on a griddle or hot cast iron pan. Sprinkle with a little salt and olive oil and put on the heat for two minutes or so till charred then turn.
Wilted – Wash, trim the root and very tops if dry. Wilt in a heavy based pan for two minutes with garlic and sesame or olive oil till soft and rich in colour. Squeeze over some lemon juice or a little soya sauce,