What's in Season at the Farmers Market: Sweet Spring Onions
So do we call them scallions? Or spring onions? We call them a pleasure, especially raw, especially copiously, especially now. But let's clear up a little of the confusion. Are scallions and spring onions the same? We turn to Elizabeth Schneider, author of Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini, who says, "... what we call spring onions are usually young onions, more mature than a straight green onion or scallion, less mature than the bigger round things we call onions."
In other words, they're all onions, just at different stages. And right now, we're seeing piles of both scallions and spring onions all over the place, with the giant and sweet green-topped Texas onions (from Underwood Farms) just around the corner.
As far as varieties go, the world is your onion. Vidalias, Mauis, Spanish reds are all fair game for spring picking, expanding their profitability range beyond the formerly standard mature harvest at the end of summer. They have a milder and less "hot" flavor than mature onions do, and are more tender and sweet, almost herbaceous, depending on the variety that you get. A natural for salads, sure, but a spring onion pesto atop chevre toasts allows for a fuller impact of one of springtime's more savory offerings. Layer long strips on puffy pastry for an aromatic spring tart. Whatever the use, we suggest keeping it simple to allow their balance of sweetness and zest to stand out. The more bulbous sweet onions will be around for a few weeks but their best flavor is now. Scallions, though, are forever.
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