Today it is scallions' turn to star in a recipe. They are non other but regular onion being very immature. This sophomore has not grown any bulb yet.
The word 'scallion' derived from Askalon (Ashkalon)—one of the Philistine cities and port on the Mediterranean coast. I'm guessing the use of this ingredient traveled in all four directions of the world.
It ended up in Russia as well (most likely it was here all along!). After long and cold winter, when our bodies running low on vitamins, here comes the green onion—one of the first crops, packed with nutrients. With its plentiful phytoncides (the antimicrobial elements in plants) scallions come just in time to fight germs leftover from winter ailments. Green onions are also sprouting early to help us with lingering respiratory diseases, which might accompanied us during the cold months. In 100 grams of scallions there's a daily doze of vitamin C along with vitamin A, B2 and B3. And even though eating hollow leaves raw can give you mildly bad breath, it can help killing germs inside the mouth.
You can eat them fresh in salads, dips and sandwiches or add to stir fries and soups. And that's what I'm doing—making borscht with green onions.
Every spring my mom would cook Green Borscht, using first greens from early farmer's markets. Although in Russia this soup is made with sorrel—a sour spinach-like leafy vegetable, I had not yet found it on this side of the pond. So I decided to use fresh spinach and to make this emerald colored soup sour, I add lemon juice. To prep fresh spinach, that could be sandy at times, use the same process as for leeks, described in my previous post.
Garnished with chopped hard boiled eggs and, as almost everything else in Russia, with a dollop of sour cream, this is my way to eat up spring!
Serves 6 to 8
2 T spoons olive oil
2 bunches of scallions, chopped (makes about 2 cups)
1 lb white potatoes, cubed
1 bunch of fresh spinach, chopped (makes about 4-5 cups)
1 cup of chopped mixed fresh herbs: parsley, dill and cilantro
Salt+ground black pepper to taste
8 cups of water or chicken broth (I used water)
Juice of 1/2 medium lemon (about 2 T spoons)
Hard boiled eggs (I used 4), chopped
A lemon wedge to squeeze more juice in your bowl, if desired
- Heat oil in a stock pot, add all the vegetables, salt and pepper lower the heat to medium, cover the pot and let vegetables sweat for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are half way cooked.
- Pour water, raise the heat to high and let it boil. Once boiled, check for salt and adjust if needed.
- Cover and let simmer for another 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Squeeze the lemon juice into the pot.
- Serve and savour!
The scallions are not the 'key' ingredient in this dish, however, you will notice and appreciate their onion flavor that makes this soup tasting very fresh!