I was driving by a roadside stand on my way home from Georgia and saw the most beautiful spring onions. It brought to mind one of my favorite soups at Barrington’s, so I immediately contacted owner and chef Bruce Moffett to see if he could help me put my abundance of onions to good use.
Spring onions are similar to green onions or scallions, but with a larger bulb at the base and a sweeter flavor than regular onions.
Cooking mellows their intensity even more. Basically, they are older scallions that have been planted in the fall and harvested in the spring (hence the “spring” in their name). They are also incredibly delicious coated in olive oil and tossed on the grill or roasted in the oven. If you haven’t tried one, they are available all year, but the prime season is now.
This is one recipe where size matters. The bulbs on spring onions can vary greatly depending on how long they’ve matured. Chef Moffett said the key to his soup is to end up with a 3-to-1 ratio of onions to potato.
He also suggests playing around with garnishes for the soup. One of his go-to toppings is a pile of jumbo lump crab meat. He also likes a drizzle of lemon oil. You can buy it at the grocery store (I was in a hurry and found it with the rest of the oils at Harris Teeter) or make your own: In a small saucepan, simply heat the zest of two lemons in 1 cup of olive oil over low heat. Cook gently for about 10 minutes to infuse the oil with lemon. Cool, strain, and store in a lidded container up to one month.
Jennifer Lover is a creative director, stylist and cook who lives in Charlotte. Email her at email@example.com or find her on Instagram (@jenniferlover).
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Barrington’s Spring Onion Soup
From chef/owner Bruce Moffett.
10 medium-sized spring onions, washed, trimmed and thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
1 potato, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
1 cup white wine
4 cups water, divided
10 ounces heavy cream (about 1 1/4 cup)
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper (or to taste)
Fried onions (see recipe)
In an 8-quart stock pot over low to medium heat, steam onions and potatoes in white wine and 1 cup water until tender. Add 3 cups water and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and slowly add cream, Parmesan and seasonings. Carefully pour into a blender and puree until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve in bowls garnished with a drizzle of lemon oil and fried onions.
Yield: 4 large bowls.
2-4 spring onion bulbs (white part only), washed, trimmed and sliced paper thin
2 tablespoons flour
Heat oil in a skillet to 300 degrees. Separate onion slices and dredge rings in flour. Fry until deep golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.