Spring onions are wonderful on the grill. The real fire heat turns the onions sweet and a bit creamy. They add lots of flavor to dishes featuring roast meats — particularly a nice grilled steak or juicy grilled chicken — or as part of a grilled vegetable platter. A classic choice is to serve some tomato-pepper-almond romesco sauce with these, but homemade aioli is a good choice, too.
This recipe is as much a method (a very simple one!) as it is a recipe. Grill up as many onions as you need to feed the people around your table. Some people will like one alongside their steak or piece of chicken, and others will want a plate piled high with grilled spring onions. Only you know your diners — buy spring onions and grill them accordingly.
Not the season for spring onions? Green onions (aka scallions) grill up just the same — just turn them more frequently and keep an eye on them because they are thinner and cook up quicker.
- Spring onions or green onions
- Olive oil or vegetable oil (for brushing)
- Fine sea salt (for sprinkling)
- Freshly ground black pepper (for sprinkling)
- Optional: 1 fresh lemon (wedges for the juice)
Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-hot heat (you should be able to hold you hand about one inch above the cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds before pulling it away from the intensity of the heat).
While the grill heats, trim off and discard any wilted greens at the top of the spring onions. Cut off and discard the root end of the onions as well. Be careful to cut right at the bottom of the onion and the top of the roots so the bulb stays together and you can cook and serve the onions as in-tact as possible.
Brush the spring onions with olive oil or vegetable oil. Be liberal with the application of the oil — it both keeps the onions from sticking to the hot grill and adds tons of flavor as it mixes with the juices from the onions as they cook.
Put the spring onions on the preheated medium-hot grill and cook them, turning once, until grill marks appear on both sides and the spring onions are tender all the way through, about 15 minutes total cooking time. If you're using a gas grill, you'll want to cover them while they cook to keep the grill's temperature up. If you're using a charcoal grill, covering is going to depend on factors like the external temperature and the wind. If the onions don't seem to be getting tender and charred after 8 to 10 minutes, use the cover and see if that helps.
Sprinkle the grilled spring onions with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Cut the lemon into wedges and either spritz the onions with lemon juice or serve them on the side for everyone to spritz their own servings, as you like.