Scallions star at breakfast

June 14, 2000|By Sylvia Carter | Sylvia Carter,NEWSDAY

Edna Lewis, born and raised on a farm in Virginia, is one of my favorite cooks of the last 100 years. Lewis cooked at the fabled Cafe Nicholson in Manhattan, where her chocolate souffles were famous, and at Gage & Tollner in Brooklyn.

When I first read Lewis' book, "The Taste of Country Cooking," in 1976, American "regional" cooking had not gained the vogue it was soon to enjoy, and her descriptions of strawberry shortcake and gently fried eggs were glimpses into a past that was fading.

Lewis once introduced this recipe (here adapted) from her book "In Pursuit of Flavor" (Knopf, 1988), by saying: "We would sow onion seed in the garden and then thin a lot of them out before their bulbs got too big. We chopped them up, sauteed them in bacon fat, poured in heavy cream and ate them for breakfast."

Creamed Scallions

Serves 5

6 strips bacon, or 2 or 3 tablespoons bacon fat

30 medium-size scallions (about 5 or 6 bunches), or 3 bunches young green onions

2/3 cup heavy cream

1 clove garlic, minced

salt and pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon chopped parsley, optional

If starting with bacon, fry bacon in a heavy skillet. Eat the bacon and keep the fat in the skillet.

Wash scallions or onions and trim roots and some of the green top. Put into the pan with the bacon fat and cook over medium heat until wilted, about 5 minutes. They should be tender but still bright green.

While scallions are cooking, heat cream and garlic in a small saucepan until mixture reaches a gentle boil. Boil about 5 minutes or until it is reduced to about 5 tablespoons and has the consistency of thin mayonnaise.

Remove scallions to a warmed serving dish, spoon cream sauce over them and taste for seasoning.

Add a little salt and pepper if you think the dish needs some. Sprinkle with parsley if desired.

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