I’ll admit it. I love edible alliums, be they Allium cepa, A. ampeloprasum, A. schoenoprasum, or A. oschaninii. In layperson’s terms, those would be onions, leeks, chives, and French shallots.
Left to my own devices, I’ll sneak some sort of onions into just about anything, so I really thought I knew my alliums … until a trip to the Templeton Farmers’ Market showed me something new.
I heard one of the vendors say to someone, “If you like onions, you should try this.” Naturally, my head whipped around, but I didn’t see what I was expecting. Instead of holding, well, an onion, the guy was holding out what looked to be a fanciful, curved green wand with a bulb on the end of it.
Turns out said “wand” was an onion scape, and the vendor was Luke from Bounty of the Valley Farms, a certifed organic operation in Greenfield. As he went on to explain, scapes offered more concentrated onion flavor, but sweeter, especially since these were from a sweet onion to begin with.
Essentially, scapes are the springtime stalks of bloomin’ onions … before they “bloom,” or go to seed. So, as Luke explained, if you don’t want that to happen, you just lop off the scape.
Well, of course, I had to bring home a scape and try it. I know, surprise, surprise, but I found it a versatile and yummy little ingredient. Minced and left raw, it was a great addition to a caramelized onion dip and also a pesto sauce, sliced thin it worked very well on sandwiches and atop baked potatoes, and a thicker slice brought color, flavor and a fun shape to stir fries.
Now that the landscape of my allium affection has been broadened, I’ll be looking for reasons to escape to the kitchen with some of these wonderful onion wands!