Grilled Spring Onions with Parsley and Mint
Here’s one great thing about farmers’ markets: People who grown stuff bring it to you hours after it’s picked. Here’s another thing: This reminds you that what you have on your mental menu has nothing to do with what has just been picked. Even after all these years I sometimes still head out to the market with an idea in mind instead of letting the market put the idea in my mind. Last Monday that idea was wax beans with a simple sauce of parsley and mint, something I look forward to every summer. I didn’t realize until I was halfway there that wax beans are not on my schedule, they are on their own. I looked around and saw the last of the spring onions—some white, some red—and they were looking fine, so that’s what I ended up with.
This is a pretty and refreshing side dish or first course. Ordinary garden mint can have a grassy, overpowering taste. It’s worth the extra effort to search out some milder tasting mints like spearmint or pineapple mint.
Serves 6, more as part of a grilled veggie appetizer
2 or 3 bunches red and/or white spring onions
¼ cup (packed) Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons to ¼ cup mint leaves, preferably spearmint or pineapple mint
3 to 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Trim the tips of the stems and any brown or wilty stems from the spring onions but leaves the stems as long as you can. Nip off just the thinnest piece of the root end. Rinse the onions pat them dry with paper towel. Lay them out on a baking sheet. Drizzle a little olive oil over them, season with sea salt and pepper and rub the oil into the onions.
Process the parsley and mint leaves, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a food processor until the leaves are finely chopped (you don’t want the sauce to be super-smooth, unless you do, in which case keep going). Do this as close to grilling time as you can. The lemon juice will start to turn the bright green herbs dark in a couple of hours.
Heat a gas grill to medium high or light your coals. With a pair of tongs, lay the onions across the grill bars (so they don’t fall through). Wait until you see the ends of the stems start to char, then carefully flip the onions. Cook until some of the leaves are charred and the bulbs are lightly browned. All in all, this shouldn’t take more than 4 minutes. Lay the onions out on a platter and spoon the sauce over and around them. The stems should be charred in some places and the bulbs still slightly crisp. Both are very good things.