Cebollitas

 
Hello, and welcome to my 100th post! I know most bloggers reach this milestone far earlier in their careers than I have – it’s taken me almost 2 years. But, considering I never thought this blog would be much more than an online family cookbook, I’m feeling pretty chuffed* that I’ve not only found 100 recipes worth sharing but have many more yet to come!

I’ve actually been sitting on this post for a week now, the victim of blogger’s block. I felt like my 100th post** should be something extraordinary, and I just couldn’t decide what that might be. Finally, I decided to go back to one of the recipes that pre-dates my food blogging and yet is entirely in keeping with my ethos: A simple and easy way of bringing the exotic home.

Cebollitas (se-bo-YEET-as) is Spanish for ‘little onions’ and can refer to small, pearl, onions or to green onions/scallions. It is also the name of the dish when green onions are grilled with salt and sprinkled with lime, served with carne asada or on their own as an appetizer. I first tasted them in New Orleans, when the fabulous Karla ordered them for us at a Mexican restaurant on Magazine Street, around the corner from my place. We had them as appetizers, with cold beers, and that’s how I’ve served them ever since.

I do get some strange looks when I show up at a BBQ swinging a bag of green onions, but once people have tasted them, they’re generally converted. A case in point is my Uncle Geoff***. He’s a true blue king of the BBQ and he doesn’t do ‘weird food’. He raised an eyebrow when I slapped them on the grill, but later admitted he really liked them. The fact that they go extremely well with beer helps bolster their popularity.

Cebollitas
(Serves 4 as an appetizer)

What You Need:

12 large green onions/scallions, washed and trimmed
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp salt
1 lime, halved or quartered (to serve)

What You Do:

1.  Place the onions in a clean plastic bag and add the oil and salt. Close the bag and shake so the onions are completely coated.
2. Place on the grill (across the rungs so they don’t fall through) and grill on medium heat for 5-10 minutes on each side. Length of cooking depends on the heat of your grill. (You want them to be wilted and golden brown, but not burnt.)
3. Remove from heat and serve with lime wedges (squeeze with lime before eating).

Notes for Next Time:

1. I use a plastic bag to coat the onions in oil and salt but you can do it in a tupperware container or by hand. Just make sure the entire lengths of the onions are coated otherwise they’ll burn on the grill.
2. Any (edible) kind of salt is fine for this but if you have a fancy sea salt, then this is a good time to bust it out. I used my fancy Cornish Sea Salt – finger-lickin’ good!
3.  To get the spiral effect (see image below), wait until they’ve cooled enough to handle, then wrap each one around your finger and gently push onto the serving plate. Licking the salt off your fingers afterwards is half the fun.
4. Cebollitas are great as a side with carne asada or indeed any grilled food. I also like to put them in a chunk of baguette with a grilled sausage and a bit of spicy mustard. That, with a cold beer, is my favourite summer BBQ meal. Hmmm… I think I just figured out what’s for dinner…

*Chuffed is a fabulous British expression meaning to be quite pleased (with oneself). You can also be chuffed to bits.
**I’m also dangerously near my 100th Facebook fan. Won’t you please head over there and help me over the hurdle? And tell your friends? Thank you!  :-)
***It’s his birthday on August 6th – Happy Birthday Uncle Geoff! May your year be full of fabulous BBQs and LOTS of ‘weird food’!