Scallions Add Spice To Life
Moloa’a Organica’a is a certified organic farm. Owners Ned and Marta Whitlock grow crops on 28 acres, harvest six days a week and ship up to 200 pounds of produce to Oahu weekly.
What’s growing now: Beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cherry tomatoes, citrus, curly kale, dragon fruit, eggplant, fennel, green beans, herbs, joi choi, Lacinato kale, lemon grass, lettuce, longon, lychee, around 30 varieties of mango, okra, papaya, radicchio, rambutan, scal-lions and taro.
Scallions, aka green onions, spring onions, salad onions, table onions or cebollitas, are the edible plants of the Allium species with hollow green leaves and lacking a fully developed root bulb. Scallions, not to be confused with leeks, are immature onions. They can be eaten cooked or raw and are valued for their savory flavor, which is milder than many other onions.
Every year in Spain, Catalans celebrate the season of calçot at Calçotada, a popular festival held between the end of winter and early spring. Calçots are green onions and are cooked in hot coals until the leaves blacken and the insides turn soft and sweet.
Season: Because of the excellent growing conditions on Kaua’i, scallions are available year-round.
What to look for: Moloa’a Organica’a sells scallions with their long, green tips still attached. Most grocery stores cut them halfway down, and the whole thing is about 1 foot long. Either way, look for crisp tops and clean white bottoms. As a rule, the more slender the bottoms are, the sweeter the scallions.
Storage: Scallions are quite perishable. Store them in the refrigerator in a plastic bag and use within three days; otherwise the tops begin to wilt.
Tips: Scallions are used primarily to enhance foods. They have an onion flavor that’s not overly assertive, and the green tops can be used in place of chives. The flavor of raw scallions becomes stronger in a prepared dish when left to sit.
Preparation: Raw chopped leaves are a good seasoning for light-tasting Japanese foods such as soba, udon and suimono. Cooking reduces its pungency and enhances its sweet flavor. The stem has an appetite-stimulating flavor, and is good for various kinds of cuisine such as sukiyaki and shish-kabob.
China’s popular cong you bing, or scallion pancake, is a savory, fried flatbread made with a flour and water dough that’s stuffed with scallions.
Scallions are delicious stewed, grilled, stir-fried or used raw as a seasoning. They pair well with sesame oil, shoyu, olive oil, hazelnut oil, cream, cream cheese, goat cheese, Cheddar, capers, wine, olives, mustard, curry spices, thyme, parsley, cilantro, potatoes, fennel, celery and eggs.
Health benefits: Scallions are an antioxidant with cancer-fighting agents. They are a rich source of vitamin K, and a good source of vitamin C. Scallions have a low glycemic load and have strong anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and antiviral properties. They are thought to thin the blood, inhibit stomach cancer, lower LDL cholesterol, discourage blood clots and fight atherosclerosis, chronic bronchitis, asthma, hay fever and infections, and also are known to cause heartburn and gas.
Moloa’a Organica’a produce can be found at: Farmers Market: Waipa, Tuesdays at 2 p.m; Kapa’a, Wednesdays at 3 p.m.; Kilauea, Thursdays at 4:30 p.m; Hanalei, Saturday at 9:30 a.m. Grocery: Harvest Market, Healthy Hut, Kilauea Town Market, Hoku Foods, Papaya’s Natural Foods, Living Foods Poi’pu, Kukui’ula Market. Restaurants: BarAcuda, Kaua’i Grill, Postcards Cafe, The Tavern, Moloa’a Fruit Stand, Coconut Cup, Oasis on the Beach, Red Salt, 22 North, Merriman’s, Roy’s and Josselin’s.
For more informataion, call 651-1446.
GREEN ONION AND GINGER PASTA
This recipe is adapted from “The Hawa’i Farmers Market Cookbook, Volume 2.” Tylun Pang, owner and executive chef of Ko on Maui, created this recipe. Pang is known for his dedication to local agriculture, and recently Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa presented Pang with the 2012 Friend of Ag Award. Makes four servings.
* 1 cup scallions, finely sliced
* 1/4 cup ginger, finely minced
* 2 teaspoons Hawaiian sea salt
* 1/4 cup peanut oil
* 1 pound linguine
* 2 tablespoons oystersauce
Mix the scallions, ginger, and salt in a bowl; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
In a small saucepan heat peanut oil over high heat until it just begins to smoke. Remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes. Add the oil to the scallion mixture.
Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Add salt and linguine. Cook for 11 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta and toss with oyster sauce. Add scallions mixture and toss again. Serve hot.
Marta Lane is a Kaua’i-based food writer. For more information, visit TastingKauai.com.