A little green…appropriate for this week with all the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations! How many stood in their closet Tuesday morning browsing their shirts to find a green one, or at least one with some green, if only one small stripe? One stripe so small you spent all day having to point it out quickly before someone was about to pinch you for not wearing any green? No names mentioned! Or maybe you are like me and have one shirt dedicated to the day itself along with some shamrock socks so you knew right away what you were wearing and wearing next year, too!! Either way with all the green talk and wearin’ of the green, I thought I would share a recipe using green onions.
Green onions are those things that some recipes can’t go without, yet usually only a few stalks are necessary. What do you do with the rest? Sure they can be chopped and frozen and ready when you need them. But what if you are fortunate to have an abundance of them? That was my luck the other day, when I was gifted with a box of beautiful “just picked from the garden” green onions! Green onions whose aroma lightened up the dentist chair I was sitting in…Yes, my nose was hard at work identifying the “smell”. First I thought garlic, no,… onions! Onions in a dental office? Then I thought obviously someone was microwaving a delicious lunch! I made good use of my time sitting in the chair thinking of what the lunch could be, a good deterrence! Then I learned it was a friend who stopped by the office to share his beautiful abundant bounty of green onions and to my luck, the recipients were sharing it with me! Best trip to the dentist ever!
I came home and chopped some for the freezer. I planted the bulbs into the ground with an assurance that I would share any of my bounty with others, too. The remaining green onions went into this recipe!
Charred Green Onion Shrimp: Cut the ends off (if planting them, don’t cut too short!) and any small, thin tips off and set aside. I like to char the thick ends and chop the tips to add in later. If the green onions are smaller, however, just leave them whole. Give the green onions a light rub of olive oil. In a grill pan, (or on a grill, much more work than needed, but if so, it will be easier to just throw the stalks on whole) grill the stalks over medium high heat turning occasionally until charred in parts, about 10 minutes. The smell will begin to make you hungry!
In a food processor, add 1 peeled garlic clove per bunch of charred green onions, the onions and tips (if cut off) and a little salt and pepper. Pulse until chopped. Puree with olive oil much like we did the asparagus pesto While running, slowly add in olive oil, 1 tsp at a time until a thick paste is formed. Stop to scrape down sides, if needed.
There is an option here. If you would like to make a marinade out of the charred green onions, simply add in some additional olive oil to make a thinner paste. The marinade can be used for shrimp (as opposed to basting while grilling) fish, chicken, and beef. I like to plan ahead and make some marinade. I remove half of the mixture to brush on my shrimp that I will grill and I add in additional olive oil to make a marinade. My favorite is to marinate flank or skirt steak overnight to grill. Don’t have any plans to grill anytime soon but still have plenty of green onions? Make the marinade mixture and freeze it in ice cube trays. You will have a nice flavor component to add when sauteing vegetables!
I skewer medium shrimp (41-50 count per pound) that I have peeled and deveined. I like to use a larger shrimp but this size was the freshest today. If I were using small shrimp, I would simply saute them with the mixture. Brush one side of the shrimp skewer with the green onion mixture.
In a grill pan or on a grill over medium high heat (I like to give a quick rub of olive or canola oil so the shrimp won’t stick), put the brushed side down. Shrimp cook quickly. It is important to keep a close eye on them, if not, they will come out tough and rubbery. Depending on the size, cook the shrimp for 2-3 minutes per side.
Our favorite sides to serve with these shrimp are roasted curried carrots and coconut rice and a charred green onion stalk! For the carrots, toss whole peeled carrots (if large, slice in half lengthwise) with a little olive oil, curry powder, and ginger and roast in 400 degree oven for 20 minutes. That’s it! A simple and quick dinner!A bonus for me, I have the start of tomorrow’s night meal marinating in the fridge!
Put your TO COOK IS TO CREATE thinking cap on: What other flavors would compliment the green onion mixture? Like lemongrass? Char some along with the green onions for an Asian flair. Like it spicy? Grill some peppers along with the green onions before pureeing mixture. What else could you use the green onion mixture in? A little dab in some mayo is delicious on a burger! What else would be good basted with the sauce on the grill? How about a vegetable skewer? Make potato packets for the grill? Add some on top of the sliced potatoes before grilling. Use as a base for flatbread or pizza crust! Think about recipes that use green onions, what are some other ingredients? Could they work in this recipe?
FOOD FUN: Spain celebrates their green onion, a calcot onion (it is a little bigger and fatter than ours) with an onion festival in Catalonia. There is a main feast day but the green onion is celebrated for months!! My type of celebration!! The green onions are charred on a grill, wrapped in newspapers to steam then enjoyed. A few places serve them on terracotta roof tiles, talk about presentation! Some participants prepare for the feast by tying on bibs before diving into the fresh hot charred onions. Others wear gloves or have a tidy bowl of water handy to clean fingers. A favorite method is to peel away the charred outer layer and dip the onion in Romesco sauce (almonds, hazelnuts,garlic, olive oil, roasted pepper and tomatoes) or olive oil and salt while enjoying plenty of wine, champagne, and bread. The meal includes grilled meat (making good use of the perfect coals!) and dessert. It is a celebration of the harvest and locals invite others to celebrate the bounty. Little did I know through the graciousness of friends I was enjoying my own form of a calcot festival!