You know you store too much stuff under the sink when your faucet suddenly squirts hot water around the seams and you frantically fall to your knees to pull out bottles of soy sauce, fish sauce, rice bran oil, olive oil, roasted sesame oil, perilla oil, chili oil, black truffle oil, black sesame oil, honey, dish soap, sponges, soju, peanut oil, more olive oil, canola oil, silver polish (so that’s where that was), rice wine vinegar, more soy sauce, pomegranate molasses, Barkeeper’s Friend, extra trash bags, salted anchovy sauce, etc., to reach the water supply valve so that you can shut off the water.
But of course the knob won’t turn so you run off, knocking over sherry vinegar, to find something to force the knob, all the while having visions of the faucet exploding off the sink and unleashing a geyser into the kitchen that will form a steaming brook trickling down the stairs closely followed by swarms of locusts. Finally you find some pliers and with a fair amount of grunting manage to turn off the water. With a sigh of relief, you stagger to your feet and decide that you’ll wash all these oily bottles as long as they’re out. Then you remember that you shut off the water and can’t wash anything unless you want to take everything to the upstairs bathroom.
That’s when the frogs come.
Kidding, everything is fine. It turns out that the cold water can run without leaking, but hot water is a no-no until I can have somebody look at it, hopefully for free. In the meantime, consider the above story a reminder to clean out your fridge. My mother has the habit of buying scallions in ungodly quantities whenever she visits Chicago because Korean grocers sometimes sell them as cheap as eight huge bunches for a dollar. Even hungry Asians can eat only so many scallions a day before they go bad. What to do?
Braise them! Molly Stevens showers me with her love again. This startlingly tasty recipe comes from her well-worn and well-loved classic, All About Braising. You really don’t even need a recipe. Basically you stuff as many trimmed and washed scallions as you can fit into a dish with a little butter and water (stock will muddy the delicate flavors), some chopped tarragon or parsley, and salt. Bake, tightly covered, at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove the lid, increase the heat to 450 and roast until most of the liquid evaporates, shaking the pan now and then. Season with salt, black pepper, and lemon juice. One pound of scallions will shrink down quite a bit; the photograph depicts what used to be a pound of fairly thick scallions. The scallions make a great side dish to just about anything, especially roasted meats. You could even eat omit the butter and herbs and eat it with rice as a banchan (Korean side dish) if you drizzle a little roasted sesame oil over the scallions before serving.
Stevens recommends tarragon as the perfect herb, but I dislike buying expensive herbs that I grow free in the garden. Since my tarragon is currently black and frozen under five inches of snow, I went with Italian parsley instead. It was still silky, sweet, and wonderful. Come spring, when the tarragon revives and our scallions grow out of control, I’ll make this dish again…if the gnats and boils don’t come.