Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What to do with Bolting Onions

I planted 80 onion sets in late April and now some of them have started to bolt. Bolting means that the onion has stopped growing and will not bulb. It will put all its energy into making seeds and get tough and old. It should be harvested which is not a good thing if you are looking to grow onions for winter use. But, for now, we have an over abundance of green onions, a challenge I look forward to each growing season.

We love grilled garden vegetables so that is what I did with the first batch of green onions. I cleaned and cut them to about 6" to include just the white bulb and the light green part, saving the darker green leaves for the Mongolian beef below. I tossed the pieces in olive oil, salt and pepper and grilled them, over high heat, along with some asparagus that I'm still picking. I cooked them until just tender, then transfered them to a serving bowl and finished them with another splash of olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. This was a delight: smoky and gently sweet with a slight crunch.

Grilled green onions and asparagus
The second dish I made goes back almost thirty years. My family will tell you it is one of their favorites. It combines tender slices of beef and green onions with a ginger sauce. The recipe came from an out of print Chinese Menu cookbook published in 1976. Through the years I have remained mostly faithful to the original recipe, only changing the amount of green onions. I've doubled and, last week, even tripled the original amount. They all just wilt down anyway, so use as much as you like.

Mongolian Beef with Jasmine Rice

1 lb flank steak

1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tsp sugar
2 TBS cornstarch
1 TBS canola oil

1 whole green onion, bulb and leaves
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 clove garlic

2 TBS soy sauce
3 TBS dry sherry or good white wine
1 TBS hoisin sauce
3 TBS water

12+ green onions, bulbs and leaves

4 TBS canola oil

1 tsp sesame oil

First I pour myself a glass of wine, then I start the rice in the rice cooker, which is as simple as putting rice and water in the rice cooker and pushing "cook". The rice cooks and stays warm until you're ready to eat.

Cut flank steak in half lengthwise, then thinly slice across the grain. In a large bowl combine the marinade ingredients and add sliced beef. Set aside.

Cut green onions into 2" pieces. Set aside.

Finely mince seasoning ingredients, put in a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine sauce ingredients. Set aside.

Now you're ready to stir fry. It's important to have all your ingredients ready before heating up the wok, high heat is key to successful stir frying and food is cooked in a flash.

  • Heat wok over high heat.
  • Add 2 tablespoon canola oil.
  • When oil is hot, add meat and its marinade. The oil is hot if it sizzles when you stick a wooden chopstick or wooden spoon into it.
  • Stir fry until meat is just pink, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from wok to a bowl.
  • Add 2 tablespoon canola oil to the same wok.
  • When oil is hot add seasonings.
  • Stir a few times until slightly fragrant, then add the sauce mixture.
  • Stir and add green onion pieces.
  • Stir for a minute until onion is slightly wilted, then return beef to the wok.
  • Stir until beef is heated through .
  • Stir in sesame oil.
Remove from wok and serve with jasmine rice.

Serves 2 generously and the recipe doubles easily.

I'm still trying to figure out why onions bolt but for now I'm wallowing in green onions.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]


Amy D said...

The grilled green onions and asparagus looks great!! I see you snuck in a red pepper, such a good looking dish.

Ting said...

So observant of you to notice the red pepper. I had one in the fridge and a mixed grill of vegetables disappears fast around here.