Wake Up and Smell the Scallions

Hedai Offaim
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Hedai Offaim

Green onion, radish and lemon open the heart and awaken the body. When you’re feeling weary, just take a very small, light-colored cabbage, cut it in very thin shreds, then add some minced fresh parsley and mint leaves and plenty of chopped scallions – including the white part – and add a generous amount of sliced radish. Then squeeze some lemon juice on top, pour on a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Prepare a bowl of this first thing in the morning and bring it to the table as you’re still wiping the sleep from your eyes. It feels like your muscles can barely hold up your stiff bones, your chest is still tight, your thoughts are sluggish. Sit down in the wooden chair, lean over a little to avoid that one insistent, blinding sunbeam, and then take a heaping forkful of the salad and noisily crunch it. The radish and cabbage will chase away any lingering dark thoughts.

Do this on a Sunday morning to start the week and feel your whole body awaken as your nostrils quiver from the cold, clear air and your tight muscles loosen up again, ready to do your bidding.

Who is the man who wants life? Let him partake of the onion and cleanse his mouth and his heart and turn away from evil and do good and his soul will be like that of a drowning man who is pulled to shore. There are those who look to the words of the prophets, or to words of solace, to rouse their souls. I get my body and soul going with some fresh scallions and radish, and bless God for kindly returning my soul to me once more this morning.

Scallion salad

Scallion pastry.Credit: Dan Peretz

A bracing, crisp, addictive salad to accompany the main course and open up the sinuses. Or serve it as part of a meze, alongside smoked fish and alcoholic drinks, and feel the blood coursing in your veins.

You can add to this salad half a cabbage, thinly sliced, and in winter try adding parsley or cress or other green herbs fresh from the market. With every bite, listen closely to the sounds of the grass and the earth.

2 bunches of fresh scallions (about 20 scallions)

1 dark green pepper

2 cucumbers

2 garlic cloves

leaves from 8 sprigs of mint

grated zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil

sea salt

coarsely ground black pepper

Rinse the scallions well and trim off the dark and wilted leaves. Remove the roots and slice the stalks, including the white part, into thin rings. Chop the green pepper and cucumbers and put everything into a wide bowl.

Mince the garlic, chop the mint leaves and add to the bowl along with the lemon zest. Season with lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, toss and serve. A fine accompaniment for stewed meat. Goes very well with vodka, slices of sausage and dark bread.

Scallion pastry

This marvelous pastry gets eaten up very quickly, so it’s a good idea to make a double batch to begin with. It’s very simple to make, and on Saturday morning there’s nothing tastier to go along with some leben or salty cheese and a hard-boiled egg. Use puff pastry dough made with good quality butter. Take care to brush only the top of the pastry with olive oil, not the edges, so it will expand nicely in the oven. You can sprinkle some sesame seeds on top or add some sliced garlic inside, but the dough, the butter and the green onion really need no embellishment.

2 bunches fresh scallions (about 20 scallions)

1 kilo puff pastry dough

leaves from 2 sprigs of thyme

3 tbsp (45 ml) olive oil

sea salt

coarsely ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius.

Separate the stalks of the scallions from the bulbs. Rinse the green stalks. In a tall pot, bring three liters of lightly salted water to a boil. When the water is boiling, blanche the green stalks for a minute, remove and dry well on paper towels.

Spread the puff pastry dough on the work surface and slice it across in 10-cm intervals to obtain 6-7 rectangles. Place the first rectangle on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and arrange 7 of the blanched stalks on it, without letting them protrude from the sides. Season with thyme and a little salt and pepper, place the next rectangle on top so that it fits right over and repeat the process. Keep going until all the rectangles are used up. Arrange some of the stalks on the uppermost rectangle of dough, brush with a little olive oil and sprinkle a little salt on top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the pastry has risen and turned golden. Serve immediately with feta cheese made from sheep’s milk, and some olives.