Life-Changing Green Onion ‘Fries’

Roasted Cebollita 'Fries' l Scarletta Bakes

A few weeks ago A. and I decided we needed a breath of fresh air. Literally. Figuratively. And a few other -lys that we just don’t need to discuss today.

So we saddled up our sturdy sedan and abandoned the Valley of the Sun for a day trip into Arizona’s mountains:  specifically, we were headed for the Prescott Farmer’s Market.

Prescott Farmer's Market l Scarletta Bakes

At the risk of sounding like a massive science nerd, the vast extremes in Arizona’s climate, topography and ecosystem life never cease to amaze me. When you grow up in and around New England, where it’s possible to drive through multiple states in a few short hours and, visually, not even realize that you’ve made the transition, this new environment feels nothing short of Martian.

I just can’t get past it. And if you’ve ever made the drive from Phoenix up into the northern mountains, you know what I mean.

Climbing from an elevation of approximately 1,100 feet to one of approximately 5,400 feet.
Watching the thermostat drop from 99° to 75°.
Passing armies of saguaro cacti that are slowly subsumed by hoards of pines.

It’s pretty fascinating even if you don’t have a destination that you’re excited about.

But we did! Or at least I did! Because farmer’s markets are kind of my jam. Especially in the fall, when they (ironically) remind me of being back home.

Samosa Destruction l Scarletta Bakes

Making your way into Prescott’s Farmer’s Market is the business of fending off the aroma of fresh tamales, fielding affectionate greetings from local canines (some up for adoption through a Prescott-based rescue league), and setting to work deciding which busting booth to hit up first.

Staying right with the theme of Arizona in all its glory, A. made a beeline for the freshly fried samosas. Which meant that curry was the name of the game for the next 30 minutes. I couldn’t exactly complain…

Roasting Chiles l Scarletta Bakes

We picked up some Sonoran honey.
We scouted roasted Chino Valley chiles.
We went back for a few more samosas.

And I ended up with my eyes on the largest bunch of green onions that I had ever seen.

You have to know that I am already a huge, huge fan of green onions. I eat them raw, grilled, pickled, sautéed…  if I thought that straight from the soil was an option that was available to me it would be happening. Right now.

So I gleefully snatched up that glorious bunch! It was all mine!

Local Flora l Scarletta Bakes

The thing about green onions is that they are practically chameleons; they can be sweet, they can be savory, and they can even be smoky depending on how you prepare them. Green onions can be crunchy or they can be tender – the sky is the limit!

You may know traditional Mexican cebollitas as green onions simply lightly charred on the grill. Cebollitas are nothing short of amazing and serve as the perfect accompaniment to just about any meat and meal. But here’s the thing:  if you’re able to get your hands on a special, robust bunch of green onions, you’re going to want to make these roasted ‘fries’ instead.

Because the pale bottoms of green onions are firm and fleshy while the green tops are hollow and leaf-like, oiling, salting and roasting the whole onions will yield tender, sweet bulb ends not unlike the pillowy potato center of a French fry. And the leafy tops will crisp up to an herbaceous green crunch. It’s insane. And the aroma throughout your kitchen while your green onions roast isn’t too shabby either (I’m currently in talks with Sephora to bottle this business – prepare to find eau de cebollita in your stocking this Christmas).

And then you take your roasted cebollita ‘fries’ and fold them into rice. Or tuck them into a tortilla. Maybe just eat them straight off the tray. You’re the jefe of these cebollita ‘fries’!

Now you know why farmer’s markets are my jam.

Roasted Cebollita ‘Fries’
Serves: approximately 2 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 large bunches green onions, root tips removed (You’ll note that I made my fries with one extremely large bunch of onions – they were so enormous that I had to horizontally halve them just to get them to fit onto my standard half sheet pan! If you’re lucky enough to find a bunch this big at your local farmer’s market, by all means, prepare this recipe with just one. But if you’re working with a standard-sized bunch of green onions, you’ll need two bunches to yield the same finished quantity of ‘fries’.)
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt, finely ground
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Arrange onions and garlic in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet.
  3. Cover in a light drizzle of olive oil and several pinches of salt. Toss to coat.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes or until onions are extremely fragrant with their tops slightly charred and shriveled, and their bottoms tender and just starting to turn golden.
  5. Remove and serve immediately in the manner of your choosing.

 

Comments

  1. 12

    says

    This calls for a “DUDE, this is so cool”. I had to do it. A recipe like this deserves it. I must try this immediately.

    And that pic of the peppers roasting in the wire barrel was freaking amazing.

    I’m experimenting with a shallot recipe, we should talk. You might want to marry me. I mean more than you already did.

  2. 11

    says

    Farmer’s markets are the best… I wish we had more here in Colorado. And these green onion fries? Heavenly. They need to happen soon in my life!

  3. 8

    says

    Ohmygoodness! This made me so happy! I lived in Prescott for almost three years, and the agricultural community there was a big part of my life (I studied agroecology at Prescott College). My Southwestern tastebuds were heavily marked by my time there. I’m so glad you got to experience it, and thanks for sharing pictures and stories!

    • Meagan says

      Yes! I didn’t want to leave! The air was so fresh and everything we ate just seemed to be bursting with flavor. It was my favorite farmer’s market visit yet this season. Thanks for reading, Jourdie!

  4. 6

    says

    I get it, and don’t think it’s geeky. :) Growing up in the Mid-West everything is same; corn fields and cows. But Colorado is so different. In 45 minutes you can be somewhere completely different, the landscape, the wild life, the flowers, everything is different! Love going to great farmers markets!

  5. 4

    says

    Sigh. Prescott… I miss it. I didn’t get down there much, but I am quite familiar with the mountains of AZ. And, the drive from Phoenix. And those chiles!

    I too am a HUGE green onion fan. Love them in salads, grilled, and in stir fries. I’ve never pickled them though – is it easy? I think I may have to give that a go.

    • Meagan says

      I knew that you would appreciate this post!

      And those chiles literally blew my mind – the smell of them roasting was like catnip. It was difficult to avoid having an awkward Mary Katherine Gallagher moment by licking the barrel of the roasting spit. But avoid it I did.

      I think you would LOVE pickled green onions, especially if you like that bite of vinegar. I do a quick pickle and boil the vinegar off with a sprinkling of seeds, then just pour it over the jarred green onions. The hardest part of the whole process is cutting the green onions down to a size that will fit in the jar!

  6. 3

    says

    I love green onions, sometimes my husband and I will fill a small glass with a little bit of kosher or sea salt, trim of the root-end of the green onions, gently dip them in the salt and quickly shovel them into our faces… so, so good! But I need me some life-changing green onion fries… so I’m trying these next!

    • Meagan says

      That sounds like such a delicious way to enjoy fresh green onions, Laurie! If you like them like that, I think you would really enjoy them roasted…

    • Meagan says

      I bet you do have some totally amazing markets in Oregon, Cathy! I’ve been wanting to get out there for a while, if only to shop the markets and sample the bounty! Bucket list!

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