Sliced scallions are so common on top of so many dishes that it’s easy to ignore them. As a garnish, they’re good, sure — just not necessarily remarkable. While you’ll never go wrong using them as a bright, crunchy accent, there are plenty of other ways to appreciate their onions, almost grassy flavor.
A good scallion dish, though, must start with a good bunch of scallions. Look for a bunch with bright white bottoms and crisp, green tops. If they’re slimy or wilted, just move on. Once you’ve brought your scallions home, keep them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag for a few days or, if you’re lucky, close to a week. You can give them the herb treatment, too, by standing them up in a glass in a bit of water and covering them with a plastic bag.
You can use the whole scallion raw or the whole thing cooked (just trim the root ends), depending on what you’re making. Especially if you’re doing something like a stir-fry with high heat, though, consider cooking the sturdier whites and lighter green parts and saving the more delicate darker greens for garnish.
Here are seven recipes from our archives to help you appreciate scallions from top to bottom:
Mirin-Glazed Parsnips With Ginger and Scallions, above. In addition to highlighting the scallions, this preparation also gives parsnips the starring role they deserve. I tend to think they’re underappreciated, but cook them right and their almost spicy carrot flavor and texture (soft with a bit of crunch left) are a delight.
Stir-Fried Beef With Ginger and Scallions. The scallions are cut into two-inch segments in this 30-minute meal, meaning they can stand up to a hot skillet without completely disintegrating. The combination of assertive flavors — scallions, ginger and fish sauce — is excellent.
Scallion Shiitake Pancakes. Scallion pancakes are one of the best Chinese restaurant appetizers, and you can make them at home, too. Here, the scallions are paired with earthy shiitakes for an adaptable appetizer or even main, depending on what else you decide to stuff inside the pancakes.
Sweet Onion, Scallion and Chive Dip. This is just the recipe you need as the season of March Madness parties ramps up, not to mention spring and then summer entertaining. It beats any store-bought onion dip, hands down. Dunk a variety of vegetables and crunchy snacks into it, and if you want to double up on the flavor by using sour cream and onion chips, you have our blessing.
Green Onion and Herb Salad. Need to burn through a big bunch of scallions? Yotam Ottolenghi’s salad is the answer. It calls for 15 scallions, which makes for a very bright dish in combination with a lemony ginger dressing, mint, cucumbers and cilantro. Even if you can’t get your hands on the nigella seeds the recipe calls for, it’s still worth making (try substituting toasted sesame seeds or poppy seeds for a different experience).
Dorie Greenspan’s Herb and Scallion Dutch Baby. Who doesn’t love a Dutch baby? This savory, puffy pancake takes only minutes to prepare. You’re going to want it straight out of the oven, too, so have your choice of toppings ready to go.
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