Grilled Scallion Salad, Batali-Style: Squeeze of Lemon, Almond Pesto
Scallions are easy to find at farm markets from now on. OK, I call 'em green onions. Supposedly green onions come from various breeds, but scallions from only one. Mario Batali calls them "scallions" in this recipe. I first crushed on the recipe a decade ago when he paired the smoky onions with coarse salt and lemon juice with a braised pork shoulder finished with caramelized vinegar. For summer he gives the salad an earthy upgrade with a parsley/almond pesto. The pesto is exhilarating with the salt, lemon and sweet char of the onions. The onions are great with or without the pesto, paired with grilled fish, roast chicken or charcuterie plate. While you grill your onions, do play "Green Onions," the '60s favorite by Booker T. and the MGs. You'll know the song. It's on the Rolling Stone's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time."
If you'd like the original recipe with braised pork: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/braised-pork-brasato-di-maiale-recipe.print.html?oc=linkback
4 bunches scallions, trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
Coarse sea salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 lemons, cut into quarters for serving
For the almond pesto:
1/4 cup raw almonds with skins (plus a few for garnish)
1 bunch parsley, leaves only
4 sprigs thyme, preferably lemon thyme, chopped stems and all
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus extra for garnish)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (plus extra for garnish)
Cut root end off scallions, drizzle with olive oil and place on hot grill with a little salt for about three minutes.
In a food processor, combine almonds, parsley, fresh thyme and pulse until finely ground. Add the olive oil with the motor running. Blend the mixture until it's thinner than pesto but thicker than a vinaigrette. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in grated Parmigiano cheese.
Flip the scallions on the grill, season them with freshly ground pepper and cook the second side for approximately 3 minutes. Scallions should be lightly charred and cooked through. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the scallions just before removing from the grill.
Plate the scallions and season with salt again. Add lemon wedges. Spoon the almond pesto over the scallions. Finish with a few almonds, a touch of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
From the Kitchen of Mario Batali, "Good Morning America."