Grilled Spring Onions

Spring onions on an open grill
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  • Total: 20 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: 1 serving

The heat of a grill turns spring onions sweet and a bit creamy. Grilled onions add flavor to dishes featuring roast meats — particularly a nice grilled steak or juicy grilled chicken — or as part of a grilled vegetable platter. For a classic combo, serve some tomato-pepper-almond Romesco sauce with these; homemade aioli makes a good choice, too.

This recipe is as much a method (and a 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.

Ingredients

  • Spring or green onions
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil (for brushing)
  • Fine sea salt (for sprinkling)
  • Freshly ground black pepper (for sprinkling)
  • Optional: 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Heat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat (you should be able to hold your hand about 1 inch above the cooking grate for 3 to 4 seconds before pulling it away from the intensity of the heat).

  3. 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 intact.

  4. Brush the spring onions with olive oil or vegetable oil. Be liberal with the application of the oil — it prevents the onions from sticking to the hot grill and adds tons of flavor as it mixes with the juices from the onions.

  5. Put the spring onions on the preheated grill and cook them, turning once, until grill marks appear on both sides and the spring onions feel fork tender all the way through, about 15 minutes total cooking time.

  6. Sprinkle the grilled spring onions with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

  7. Spritz the onions with fresh lemon juice or serve the lemon wedges on the side so everyone can dress their own plate.

Tips

  • If you're using a gas grill, you'll want to cover the spring onions while they cook to keep the grill's temperature up.
  • If you're using a charcoal grill, you may or may not need the cover, depending on factors such as the ambient air temperature and amount of 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.

Recipe Variation

  • 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 therefore cook more quickly.