22 Jul 2007
What in the World are Scallions? Or, How to Make a Greek Potato Salad
It's the summertime! And as such, people have parties, get-togethers, and shindigs. Some of these gatherings are potluck. So to expand my cooking horizon, I volunteered to bring something I've never made before. I've only ever made about 8 things, so I had lots to choose from. Dear 'ol mom makes a mean Greek Potato Salad. Got it from my aunt, who's a wiz in the kitchen. I thought - that'll be cool!
So I got the ingredient list:
Salt (more than you might think)
Potatoes (just a few under a 5 lb. bag)
Cherry Tomatoes (add to liking, probably 6 oz.)
Eggs (6 or 7)
Lemons (1 to 1.5)
Scallions (Green Onions) (a bunch)
Okay, not too bad. Scallions, huh? Also known as Green Onions? So I go to the store to purchase what I need (I actually already had salt, olive oil, and, well, that's all I had). Found the things easily, except when it came to the Scallions and Mint. My local big box food place didn't have mint on hand or scallions at all. I tried again the next day for mint. No luck. I tried another big box place for mint. No luck. But they did have scallions.
Now the tricky part. What does a scallion look like? Well, they should be labeled, right??? Looking, looking...AH! There's the label, across the top of the refrigeration unit with tons of other labels. I check the boxes holding the goods, many of which are empty at the end of a long shopping day.
Could this thing be a scallion? It's round and bumpy and kind of gross looking. Nothing else seems to fit the bill, but I'm not confident. What about Vidalias? They're onions and they're green looking. I do the proper thing and seek help.
"Excuse me, sir - do you have any scallions?"
"Ah, yes," he replies. "They're loose, is that okay?"
Thinking it over as if the question were an affront to my hoity toity cooking eccentricity, and then pretending to go with the flow, "Oh, sure, that's fine."
"They should be right over..." Now approaching me and raising his arm to point, he stops. "Yup, there they are. Do you see them?"
We're standing a good 20 to 30 FEET from the shelf! Darn all those empty containers; otherwise, he would have to take me to them. I am a little dumbfounded, but figure I can do the proper thing and confess my ignorance and ask him to point them out.
OR, I can do the manly thing.
"Oh, yeah, I see them - thanks!"
I can feel his eyes on me as I walk over to where the "scallions" are, if they even exist. I pretend I'm sizing them up, but I'm really trying to put my eyes on everything at once as I feel the employee questioning my confidence. Unsure that I can get the proper head angle to project this confidence, I let my body convey that I'm excited about another useless vegetable I've found a little ways away. Oh, what a marvelous bunch of whatsis and whosis! I feel him go back to his work and sneak a peek to make sure. Safe!! "You should have gone into acting, Paul" I think proudly. I make my way back to the choice of all choices. I can hear the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade warning me: "You must choose...but choose wisely." Choose, but choose wisely...
I finally decide on a poorly labeled celery-like thing - I guess I'll find out at the register! And to my relief I strike paydirt - manliness preserved!
So, anyway, I finally find mint at another store. Well, I confess. This recipe is just an excuse to share my scallion hunting adventure. But it is a good recipe! It came out just fine for me in the end and was a hit at the party I went to. So here are the directions for you:
Boil all purpose potatoes with their skins on until done (this helps keep 'em from drying out). Let cool. Skin potatoes and cut up into large bowl. Add cut up scallions (aka green onions), lots of chopped up fresh mint, and cherry tomatoes. Coat potato mixture with olive oil and mix. (Do not put the lemon juice on first or this will soak right into the spot you deposit it. The potatoes need to be "sealed" with the oil first.) Add juice from 1-1 1/2 lemons and lots of salt and mix. Hard boil eggs. Add sliced eggs. Best served same day.