Scallion Sticks

Every year I plant a generous row of scallions for the purpose of adding them to fresh salsas and salads.  As a general rule, onion seeds have a short window of viability, so while I have never had leftover seed not germinate in the second year, I really try not to keep too much extra seeds in my stash from year to year.  As such, my planting method is about as easy as it gets: I evenly distribute the entire contents of the packet of seed over the row.  No leftover seed, lots of scallions, it's a win-win situation.  

Scallions tolerate the crowded conditions rather well, but it's usually only short term, as I thin them out as I harvest them throughout the season.  But this year, with the tomatoes behind schedule and the Red of Florence onions pairing so perfectly with all the broccoli salads, it was August and I had hardly touched the row of scallions.  This needed to be remedied immediately, because, well, look at them--they're beautiful (and plentiful) this year!  
I came across this recipe a couple of years ago, but had kind of forgotten all about it until I started to rack my brain for ideas to use up a good number of scallions other than salsa and a salad. Onion rings are a favorite guilty pleasure, so in my mind, any variation of this classic is worthy of consideration.

I put my own twist on the recipe by using a little apple ale instead of white wine, and by adding a little cayenne and paprika pepper to the batter to give it a little more seasoning.  The result was a nice, mildly spicy, mildly sweet, delicious little bite.  I was a little concerned that they might end up stringy, but I only encountered that with one or two out of the whole bunch, and I think it could be remedied with a little more careful trimming.  Overall there were very onion ring-esque, though obviously with a slightly different texture and a slightly less sweet flavor than a traditional onion ring.  They pair wonderfully with a little homemade spicy ketchup (recipe coming soon!).
Scallion Sticks
15-20 scallions
1 cup apple ale
1 cup flour
A pinch of ground cayenne pepper
A pinch of ground paprika pepper
A few of turns of fresh ground black pepper
A generous pinch of salt
Vegetable or other neutral oil for frying

Clean and trim scallions, removing the root ends and the green tops that are more than an inch or so above where the scallion naturally starts to branch out a bit.  Cut scallions in half crosswise into approximately 3" lengths.

Combine all ingredients (a wide, shallow container works best for dipping the scallions in the batter) and whisk until smooth.  If batter is too thick, add a small amount of additional ale.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  

Dip scallions into batter, turning until well coated. Fry in hot oil for 2-3 minutes, or until golden and crispy on both sides.  Allow to drain and cool ever so slightly on paper towels before serving hot with your favorite dipping sauce.  

Recipe adapted from Saveur

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