As a city mouse I don’t have room for a full garden. This is good news for plants, since nearly every single one I’ve attempted to raise has died a slow, painful death. Despite my track record of doom, last year I decided to try my hand at planting some herbs because I use a ton of them in my kitchen, and also because compared to most other plants, they’re harder to kill. I am proud to say that by the end of the growing season, I had only unintentionally murdered about 40% of my plants.
This was enough of a win to convince me to try my hand at gardening again this year. I have six planters made from upcycled Styrofoam coolers, and with this limited space, I’m only growing things that have proven they can survive my pestilent touch, and are also cheap. (As I have learned the hard way, the sting of plant death hurts more when you’ve spent a small fortune trying to keep them alive.) One such plant is the resilient scallion, which can be purchased and planted direct from your supermarket’s produce section. They’re tasty, versatile, and easily replaceable (in the event that they’d rather join the choir invisible than spend time with me). In early April, while my husband was ordering groceries, I asked him to buy a few scallions for one of our planters. This is what he bought:
At first I thought this might have been an accident; that he perhaps had tried to order 12 individual scallions, not 12 bags—each containing about 15 scallions—because that would be insane. But my husband explained that we needed to become the parents of 180 scallions because they were only $0.79 a bag, and I was unlikely to kill 100 scallions before they were even put into the ground.
That is the origin story of this recipe, and probably many more recipes to come. Fortunately, scallions are delicious and versatile. This sauce brings a ton of flavor to anything it touches, adding a pop of brightness to chicken, tofu, and, as pictured, plant-based burgers. (Lest you think I’m jumping on the beef-free bandwagon, I’ve never used much meat in the recipes I’ve developed for The Takeout, and no one’s ever noticed.) My bright, spicy, oniony Scallion Sauce is so damn good, I’ve almost forgiven my husband for my four planters full of scallions, which, I’m happy to report, are thriving, and will hopefully continue to do so until I murder them to make more sauce.
2 large bunches of scallions (about 12)
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 Tbsp. honey
2 tsp. kosher salt
3/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1-3 jalapeños, seeded and minced (Use more or less depending on your tolerance for spicy foods)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Additional salt and pepper, to taste
Trim the ends off the scallions, then cut in half to separate the white and green halves and set the greens aside. Thinly slice the whites and put them in a small bowl with the sliced garlic. In a small saucepan or microwave-safe container, combine the apple cider vinegar, water, honey, kosher salt, and pepper. Heat until the mixture begins to simmer, stir well, and pour over the scallion whites. Cover the bowl and set aside for at least 10 minutes.
Slice the scallion greens into 1/2" pieces. (These don’t have to be perfect.) Put into a small mixing bowl with the minced jalapeño, ground coriander, olive oil, and a hefty pinch of salt. Use a small mesh strainer to drain the scallion whites, gently pressing down to squeeze out any excess pickling liquid. Add the scallion whites to the greens, mix well, cover, and allow to rest for a minimum of 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. (The longer this sauce sits the better it tastes.) Before serving, taste the sauce for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper as you see fit. Use it on top of burgers, chicken, tofu, or just about anything else.