Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Scallion Gratin

Scallion Gratin

This tasty springtime side will have you craving seconds

Spring is prime time for scallions. Fresh local ones are available in farmers’ markets. And you can grow them easily in a home garden.

So why not give them a starring role at the table? This creamy, cheesy Scallion Gratin makes a great side dish for poultry, meat, or seafood.

But it’s so good, you may be tempted to double or triple the recipe – and make a meal out of it.

Scallion Gratin

Recipe: Scallion Gratin

Our recipe for Scallion Gratin is adapted from one we found in Jacques Pépin’s Table. Pépin has been writing cookbooks and appearing on TV for decades, so it’s easy to overlook him when thinking about contemporary food writers. But we think he may be the best cookbook author out there right now.

Prep time for this recipe is 5 to 10 minutes. Cooking time adds about 20 minutes. You can do all the prep work (and part of the cooking) ahead of time – see Notes.

This recipe yields 4 servings. It’s easy to cut in half or double (or triple). Leftovers keep for a few days if refrigerated in an airtight container.

Ingredients

  • 4 bunches of scallions
  • ~1 ounce fresh bread (about 1 slice)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • salt to taste (about ½ teaspoon kosher salt for us; see Notes)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste (a half dozen grinds for us, or more to taste)
  • 1 small garlic clove, thinly sliced or finely minced (optional, but tasty)
  • ¾ cup cream (may reduce to ½ cup if you prefer a less creamy gratin)
  • ~1 ounce freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese 

Procedure 

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Prep the scallions: Remove about 2 inches from the dark green part of the scallions and pull off any discolored leaves. Remove the root ends. Wash the scallions thoroughly, shake them dry, then cut them into pieces of about 1 inch. (You may want to reserve some scallion rounds – chopped from the green part – for garnish.)
  3. Tear the bread into pieces, then place the pieces in a small food processor. Process until the bread is roughly crumbled. Set aside.
  4. Butter the interior surface of a small gratin dish. Set aside. Add the remaining butter (which will be about 1½ tablespoons) to a medium-sized frying pan. Place the pan over medium stovetop heat.
  5. When the butter is melted, add the scallions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the scallions are just tender (about 5 minutes). Then add the garlic and sauté for an additional minute.
  6. Add the cream and cook until the mixture has reduced a bit and thickened (3 to 5 minutes). Add half the cheese, then stir to combine. Scrape the contents of the frying pan into the prepared gratin dish. Smooth the scallion mixture with the back of a spoon or a rubber spatula to even the surface.
  7. Sprinkle the bread crumbs and then the remaining cheese evenly over the surface of the gratin. Place the gratin pan in a hot oven and cook until the top browns and the gratin is bubbly (about 10 minutes). You may want to run the gratin under the broiler for a minute or two if the top isn’t as brown as you like.
  8. Serve and enjoy. We often garnish each dish with some chopped rounds from the green part of the scallions.

Scallion Gratin

 Notes

  • Prefer to do most of the work for this dish ahead of time? Prepare it through Step 6, then let the dish cool. Cover it with shrink wrap and refrigerate. Then, when ready to serve, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and proceed with Step 7. You will probably need to increase the cooking time by 5 minutes or so to make sure the dish heats thoroughly.
  • You can easily adjust the size of this recipe. Use about one bunch of scallions per serving, then adjust the other ingredients accordingly.
  • When we make this dish, we layer the bread crumbs on first, then the cheese. Jacques Pépin mixes the two together before layering on. (He also adds the salt and pepper to the cheese.)
  • Pépin cooks the scallions in water. He places them in a small saucepan with 1 cup of water, brings it to a boil, and covers. He cooks until most of the water is gone (about 5 minutes), then arranges the scallions in the gratin dish, pours in the cream (actually, he uses half-and-half), then layers on the cheese and bread crumb mixture. His version is a bit healthier, but we think ours is more luscious.
  • BTW, you don’t have to use a gratin dish when you make this recipe (we actually used a small gratin dish that is often referred to as a “rarebit dish”). You could use ramekins or any other small baking dish instead.
  • Scallions are essentially the same thing as green onions. The “green onions” sold in supermarkets often have larger bulbs than the pipsqueaks they market as “scallions.” But their flavor is identical. When we have a choice between larger onion bulbs and thinner, more elongated ones, we always choose the latter.
  • Want a lighter dish? You can use a bit less cream than we call for. Or substitute half-and-half.
  • Same with the cheese: You can use a bit less (or more!) if you prefer.
  • You could add herbs to this dish – though we don’t think that improves the flavor significantly. If we were going that route, we would opt to use fresh thyme or tarragon.
  • Scallion rounds make a nice garnish for this dish, as we noted. But chopped chives would be good too. Or chopped parsley.
  • We use kosher salt in cooking. It’s less salty by volume than regular table salt (the crystals are larger and more irregular, so they pack a measure less tightly). If you’re using regular table salt, start with about half the amount we suggest. But always season to your taste, not ours. 

Scallion Gratin
Scallion Wags

“This dish is a herald of spring!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Blooming good flavor.”

“Kiss my tulips!” I said. “This dish puts a spring in my step.”

“You were just waiting to spring that one on me, weren’t you?” said Mrs K R. “Couldn’t resist putting the petal to the metal.”

“I knew you’d appreciate my flowery puns,” I said. “Bud wait, there’s more! Would you like seconds on this?”

“Absolutely,” said Mrs K R. “After all, one swallow does not make a spring.”

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70 comments:

  1. I like scallions. But I've always had them as the addition to a dish - not the star of the recipe. This gratin looks and sounds delightful. Indeed, I would agree with Mrs. Kitchen Riffs on the description “This dish is a herald of spring!” - scallions are associated with spring to me, too!

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    1. Hi Ben, we always think of scallions as an ingredient, not as the star, too. But they have wonderful flavor, and really shine in this dish. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. I adore scallions, and use them a lot in my cooking. But I have never thought of using them as the main ingredient. I love how it turned out..so yummy and beautiful.

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    1. Hi Angie, this is an outstanding recipe -- really worth trying. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  3. I cannot wait to make this, John! I am thinking for an Easter side dish. Amd I will use our local I’itoi onions - like scallions but more flavorful. I like the “upgrades” you made to Jacques’ recipe. Thanks!

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    1. Hi David, you'll love this -- such great flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I have the same book, but I also enjoy Jaques Pepin videos on Facebook. It a great dish to celebrate Spring.

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    1. Hi Gerlinde, I sometimes look at his videos, too. He's such a great teacher! Thanks for the comment.

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  5. So, do you think one could use wild onions in this dish? We have a TON poking up in our yard.

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    1. Hi Debra, interesting idea -- haven't ever cooked with wild onions. Be a fun experiment! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. That dish is both creative and simple! A great choice.

    be safe... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Mae, this is such an easy, yet incredibly tasty, dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I can't get enough scallions, or I call them 'green onions' in my salads. This way of preparing them is teaching me something entirely new. Bet it is delicious!!! Happy Spring (finally)!

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    1. Hi Roz, happy spring indeed! We've been waiting for it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. The recipe looks delicious. I will probably try it with baby vidalias rather than scallions. But the puns are the star of this post! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Anne, we had fun with that ending. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. John, we're big Jaques Pepin fans here, especially Eva. A great recipe likely to put spring in your step...

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    1. Hi Ron, we definitely need as much spring as we can put in our step. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. I have a friend who will love this! Will be especially good for Easter. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Judy, this will be a wonderful Easter dish! Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Wow, this is almost French Onion soup in gratin format. Yum!

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    1. Hi Inger, it is, kinda, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. I always have scallions in the fridge! Can't wait to put some Spring into my dish and this looks and sounds perfect. Leave it to Jacques...and you!

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    1. Hi Abbe, Jacques created it, I just read about it. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  13. I am a fan of gratins. Yours sounds quite falvorful!

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    1. Hi Denise, we like gratins a lot, too. And In fact make a lot of them. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. OMG I LOVE scallions and yes, spring is the perfect time to enjoy a dish like this. Four bunch of scallions, sour cream and cheese - I don't think my stomach could growl much louder. :) Thanks for sharing this John. It's a keeper.

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    1. Hi MJ, you'll love this -- wonderful flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. A beautiful combination of scallions with cream cheese and potato, this has to be a winner. Earmarked for tonight to accompany my pork and cabbage dish. Thanks John, very happy days to you for dishes such as this one.

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    1. Hi Merryn, this is perfect with pork! (Ask us how we know!) Thanks for the comment.

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  16. Wow! This is so unique! Jacques is a god. I think I only have one of his cookbooks; I should be a better fan of his. And this is inspirational! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Mimi, he's such a great cook, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  17. A very interesting lesson for me in autumnal Australia. We do not use the term 'scallions' but call the same green or spring onions and as such they are very much local and available all year. Cooking basically Asian and Middle-Eastern fare I doubt there is a day they would not be in use ! However have never made them into a side dish of their own . . . since cream is not usually a resident in my fridge may have to make an exception to get a new flavour combination on the plate or think along the same lines but differently :) !

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    1. Hi Eha, always a good thing to think differently. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. okay so scallions are our spring onions or shallots or green onions or ... Every State here has a different term, it seems. anyways, i love 'em and this sounds fabulous KR! and then there's the argument about which part do you use and which do you throw away - the green part or the white part? etc etc ...

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    1. Hi Sherry, scallions, green onions, whatever -- they're good. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. This is heaven on a plate and would certainly put a little spring in our step! Scallions, cheesy goodness, bread and butter. What is not to love?

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    1. Hi Bobbi, isn't this a great dish? Neat way to use scallions. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Being a Queenslander as well, I call them shallots but I love the name scallions, quite cute. I love gratins but have never used shallots as the star. I don't have a Jacques Pepin connection so will look him up. Thanks for such an interesting post. Stay safe and enjoy Spring. We are waiting for Autumn....

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    1. Hi Pauline, we've always really liked the name scallions too! And we like this recipe, a lot -- very flavorful. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. This makes a beautiful side dish, but I agree with you that I could easily imagine making a meal of it. I love all the options you present, which really helps approach the recipe in a flexible manner. Thanks, John!

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    1. Hi Jeff, it's definitely a tasty and fun recipe. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. This looks delicious! I think I'd eat the entire thing for my breakfast!

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    1. Hi Amy, we haven't had this for breakfast, but now that you mention it . . . :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Jaques Pepin's cookbooks are great! This recipe is right up my alley and I'm looking forward to trying, very unique and perfect for Spring! I could make a meal of it, green onions with bread and cheese, what's not to like. Thanks for the recipe,John! Happy cooking!

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    1. Hi Pam, he's a wonderful author, isn't he? Love his recipes! This is a particularly nice one -- and a bit unusual, which is always fun. Thanks for the comment.

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  24. I have never thought to use scallions like this, they’re always a garnish to me. But you’ve intrigued me, so I’m going to put this recipe on my list to try.
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

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    1. Hi Eva, you'll like this -- terrific flavor. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. Replies
    1. Hi Martha, it is. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. I could definitely make a meal of this. I love the fresh scallions from our local FM. Love your puns, too! :-) ~Valentina

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    1. Hi Valentina, we can never resist a pun. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. I love that you are using scallions as the main ingredient. They are definitely tasty enough to make this dish shine

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    1. Hi Pat and Dahn, this dish does shine on brightly. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  28. This is certainly a new way to use scallions John and a delicious one at that.

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    1. Hi Karen, definitely a bit different. And really delish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  29. This sounds so good with all that luscious cheese. I love spring onions and spring garlic, and put them in everything I can at this time of year.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, sounds like this dish is right up your alley! Thanks for the comment.

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  30. So rich and creamy and tempting... this would be amazing served for Easter dinner. YUM!!!

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    1. Hi Heidi, really tempting. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. Love scallions! And more than that love this simple yet delicious dish that sounds so comforting.

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    1. Hi Taurana, we don't use scallions nearly enough in our cooking. This is such a nice way to feature them. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. Looks fantastic! Doesn't everything taste better when it's gratineed?

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    1. Hi Frank, everything really does taste better when gratineed. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. What a great idea! It looks comforting, flavorful, and so delicious.

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    1. Hi Pam, it's a really neat dish, isn't it? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. Reminds me of the Korean pancakes, those scallions gives a lot of flavours to the dish

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    1. Hi Raymund, those pancakes are the only other recipe we make where scallions are the star! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  35. It's hard to resist a good gratin. I've never had one with scallion, but it sounds great. Plus, it has something green, so an excuse to eat more ;)

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    1. Hi Laura, right, green means healthy, right? :-) Thanks for the comment.

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