11 July 2006
Scads of Scallions
We’ve been getting scads of scallions from our CSA. I’ve been wracking my brain trying to figure out what to do with them. Unlike a certain Jonski-grandmotherJ, I don’t like to eat them raw in tossed salads – but unlike Jonski-grandpaP, I don’t eschew cooked onions (not even ‘scallops’, the term he mistakenly used when thinking garlic scapes were scallions). However, even From Asparagus to Zucchini doesn’t have many suggestions for scallions beyond recipes that use 1 or 2. But of course Madhur Jaffrey didn’t let me down! World Vegetarian has a recipe for scallion cakes on page 466. I had enough time and toddler entertainment to try them tonight. At dinner, Z-boy asked me how I made them (not that he ate any, mind you!), and this is what I told him (with addition of amounts for those who might want to try to do this at home):
First I mixed 3.5 cups of flour with 1 1/4 cups warm water. I mixed and mixed and mixed and formed it into a ball. Then I put that in a bowl covered with a damp towel and let it rest for 20 minutes.
While waiting, I chopped 12 scallions (white and green parts) very thinly. (Recipe says to use 10, but I’d had to trim off lots of the green due to sliminess so used 12.)
When the 20 minutes was up, I put flour on a work surface and rolled the dough out into a big circle, 20 inches in diameter. Then I spread some oil on it (5 tablespoons peanut oil officially, but I used canola since I didn’t have peanut), then sprinkled on the scallions.
Next I rolled it up tightly into a long snake. I divided the snake into 4 pieces. With each piece, I twisted the ends in opposite directions to close them off, then put the piece on one end and smooshed it down into a pancake. (For Z-boy, I used lots of hand motions to demonstrate all this.) [And in real time, this is where I wondered: “Is this right? Should these be thinner?” I still wonder! Although now I see that the cookbook says to roll them out to 7 inches. I overlooked that step, and suspect mine were smaller and thus too thick.]
I heated ~3 Tab oil (canola sub for peanut again) in a frying pan over medium high. When hot, I put the first pancake in the oil and let it cook for 3 to 4 minutes, then flipped it over to cook for another 3. [My oil was initially too hot and the first one got very dark, but 3 minutes per side was perfect for all subsequent cakes.] I set it to drain on a paper towel, then added 1 Tab oil to the pan (I used light sesame oil from here on out), and cooked the next one. (For each subsequent pancake, add 1 Tab oil before cooking.)
Madhur writes that you should cut into wedges, and eat immediately. They can be wrapped in foil and kept for awhile but will lose their crispness. The foil bundle can be reheated in a medium oven for 15 minutes, or one at a time in a microwave for about a minute.
We ate them with a soy-based dipping sauce (from a recent chinese take-out meal) and some mango chutney. The main entree was snap peas stir-fried with ginger, chicken, and a touch of sweet-and-sour sauce (from same take-out meal).
They were tasty, yet relatively easy and fun to make. Jonski Papa thought they were a little bit dense and heavy, and wondered if they might be improved by the addition of a leavening agent. Perhaps best of all, I used up a dozen scallions! But we (two adults) only ate half (2/3rds if I can convince myself to throw away the one that got so close to burning…) so maybe it shouldn’t really count as ‘using up’ until they’re all eaten!