Cook in the Moment: Grilled Spring Onions with Romesco Sauce

Grilled Spring Onions with Romesco Sauce (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

I’m not into celebrity chefs, per se. My favorite cookbooks are penned by self-taught home cooks with an interesting story to tell and a reverence for the craft of writing. Paula Wolfert, Nigel Slater, David Tanis, even Nigella Lawson. I want more than recipes. Give me history, culture, tradition. Let me be lost in your story and see the world through new eyes. I’m drawn to people who have a contagious enthusiasm for life. José Andrés is one of those cooks. He’s joyful and driven in his mission to share Spanish food with the world. Sure he is a celebrity, but to me, he’s not a celebrity chef. It’s substance and meaning and a new spin on traditional recipes that give his food depth. When I traveled to Washington D.C. for the first time (in April), eating at one of José Andrés’ restaurants was at the top of my list.

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10 Ways Tuesday: Spring Onions

Spring Onion, Pea, and Chive Frittata with Goat Cheese (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

I’ve got creative recipes for cooking with spring onions:

1.  Frittata

Basically a quiche without the pastry crust, the frittata is a rustic Italian baked egg dish that’s best suited to spring cooking. It’s a forgiving technique: sauté thinly sliced vegetables in a skillet, pour over beaten eggs, and sprinkle cheese on top. Start cooking the eggs on the stovetop and finish under the broiler for a browned and puffy frittata. Look for my favorite spring version: Spring Onion, Pea & Chive Frittata with Goat Cheese, on the blog this week. In the meantime, Martha Stewart’s Mushroom and Scallion Frittata would be delicious made with spring onions.

2.  Grilled

In Spain, grilled Calçots are a spring tradition. I first learned of this reading José Andrés Tapas cookbook. The Calçots, a spring onion, are cooked whole (minus the roots) over hot coals until tender and infused with smoky flavor. It’s a meal for a crowd, and a messy one at that, as the onions are meant to be eaten with your fingers, dragged through a spicy red romesco sauce and chased with plenty of wine. I’ll be preparing grilled spring onions inspired by this tradition tomorrow on the blog.

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Ingredient of the Week: Spring Onions

Spring Onion, Egyptian Walking Onion (c)2012 LaDomestique.com

Spring onions are the pantry ingredient of the week at la Domestique. These sweet and succulent Alliums are merely immature red, yellow, or white onions. Harvested early, spring onions have generous green leaves and long thin stalks. Their flesh is moist and delicate, and their mild onion flavor is delicious eaten raw or cooked. At the farmers market, the pungent aroma of spring onions can be detected in the air long before reaching the farm stand stacked high with dangling roots and bound stems. Here in Colorado, the growing season gets off to a slow start, as night frosts are a regular occurrence through May. Spring onions are a welcome sight after so many weeks of only spinach.

When selecting spring onions, look for bright green, perky tops and firm stems- nothing dry or shriveled. Keep spring onions in the fridge loosely wrapped in a plastic bag. Use them within a day or two, as the tender stems will turn limp and rapidly loose their flavor. To prepare spring onions for cooking, slice off the roots and green tops and peel off the outer layer. Spring onions can be grilled whole or thinly sliced and eaten raw in salads, tacos, or to garnish soups. Tomorrow is 10 Ways Tuesday and I’ve got creative recipes for cooking with spring onions.

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