The Tasteful Garden

Onion of many names and even more uses

CORRESPONDENTSJanuary 18, 2013 


Green onions are also called spring onions because spring is when they’re at their peak of goodness.


  • Tangy Chicken Piccata 1 small yellow onion, sliced 6 green onions, chopped (green and white parts) 2 cloves garlic, crushed 4-5 tablespoons olive oil 1/3 cup chicken broth 1/3 cup dry sherry or white wine 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice Flour seasoned with salt and pepper 2 pounds thin-sliced boneless chicken breasts (see Notes) 1 1/2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained Cooked rice or pasta (optional) HEAT the olive oil on medium heat in a frying pan that will be large enough to hold all the chicken breasts. (I use a large nonstick electric frying pan.) Add the onion, green onions and garlic. Stir and fry until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. COMBINE the chicken broth, sherry or wine, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside. ADD more olive oil if the pan is dry. Lightly coat the chicken breasts in the seasoned flour and shake off the excess. Cook the chicken until lightly browned on each side, turning as necessary. This won’t take long with thin-sliced breasts. RETURN the vegetables to the pan when the meat is cooked, then add the broth mixture and capers. Stir and simmer for a couple of minutes until the sauce thickens slightly and coats the chicken; do not let it all cook away. SERVE with rice or pasta, if desired. Yield: 4-6 servings NOTES: If you can’t find thin-sliced boneless chicken breasts, pound regular boneless chicken breasts with a meat mallet or rolling pin until they are 1/2- to 1/4-inch thick. Thin filets of fish such as flounder or snapper can be substituted for the chicken. They will take less time to cook, so watch carefully for overcooking.

Carol Stein grows it

Allium fistulosum is the botanical name for green onions, which are also called spring onions because spring is when they’re at their peak of goodness. You may see these perennial plants called bunching onions as well.

The allium family also includes shallots, leeks, and white, yellow and red onions.

Green onion slips are available in garden centers between now and early March. Transplant onion slips into well-draining garden soil or into eight inch or larger containers filled with fresh potting soil. Allow about an inch between the plants. Set them deep enough so that the white part is below soil level.

Sprinkle an organic, slow-release fertilizer around the plants a couple of weeks after transplanting. Keep the soil evenly moist until the roots become established, then provide an inch of water each week.

You can harvest green onions when the tops are 8 to 10 inches tall. If clumps begin to form, gently separate them and replant some of the onions for later harvest.

If you want to start green onions from seed, I like the one called White Lisbon Bunching Onion. Seeds can be sown in containers or empty garden spots when soil temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees. Sow the seeds a scant quarter-inch deep and press the soil down before watering them in. Germination takes about 10 days.

When the sprouts are three inches tall, sprinkle slow-release fertilizer or a thin layer of compost on top of the soil and water well. Provide an inch of water each week. Pull any weeds that might compete for nutrients and moisture.

As they mature, thin the onions until each plant has an inch of growing room. Don’t discard the ones you pull – they’re tender and tasty. The entire crop will fully mature six to eight weeks after germination.

Debbie Moose cooks it

The terms green onion and scallion are often used interchangeably. Scallion is both the name of the branch of the onion family to which green onions belong and the name of a variety within it.

Because it’s all in the family, green onions are great in any recipes that call for scallions, although scallions taste a bit milder. The entire green onion is edible, with the white part having a milder flavor than the dark green end. The dark green part can have a strong garlicky flavor – and I love that about it. I’ve found that the fresher the green onions, the more garlic-like flavor the tops have.

Make sure green onions have crisp, bright green tops and firm white bases. Store them in plastic bags in the refrigerator crisper for up to five days. Don’t wash them or trim any roots until you’re ready to use them. They’re great either raw or cooked.

The combination of green onions, garlic and lemon make this one of my go-to dinner recipes. Serve it with rice or pasta to soak up every drop of the sauce.

Reach Carol Stein

and Debbie Moose at

For a printable copy of the recipe, click the link:

Tangy Chicken Piccata

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