A Savory Crostata That Tastes Like a Scallion Pancake

May  4, 2018

A few favorite things about scallion pancakes: Crusty edges. Flaky layers. Oily fingertips. Scallions! Soy sauce for dunking. Or double-dunking because they’re my scallion pancakes and I never said I would share.

Sighs. Fine, I’ll share.

Scallion pancakes are a Chinese takeout must—I mean, they are if you’re with me—but making them at home isn’t hard. Basically, you mix a flour-water dough, roll that into a rectangle, brush with oil, sprinkle with scallions, curl into a log, spiral into a snail, roll into a circle, then pan-fry...

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Wait. Did that sound hard? It’s not. Once you get the hang of it, it’s as easy as pie.

Photo by James Ransom

Easy as pie. Scallion pancakes...easy as pie! Rushes to recipe notebook and jots down: "Scallion pancake...as pie?"

Just like a scallion pancake, a pie is all about crusty edges and flaky layers and oily fingertips—especially if it’s a free-form hand pie, like a crostata or galette. So why not scallion pancake–ify it?

This mash-up is halfway between the two. While the pancakes are freckled with scallions here and there, I wanted to knock the ratio off-kilter. The original vision was: long strips of scallions, like asparagus spears, or a cityscape. That turned out very pretty—but equally impractical. One bite of pie and all the scallions swoosh into your mouth. Slicing into lots and lots of little coins fixes this (also, it's very pretty).

Now, what to toss them in? Scallion pancake dipping sauces vary, but there are some usual suspects: soy sauce, sesame oil, chili oil, rice vinegar. I first tossed the scallions in soy sauce and sesame oil, which turned out lovely, but not quiiiite there. It was missing something. Maybe a little sweetness? A little spice?

Brown sugar and chili flakes did the trick.

The rice vinegar, on the other hand, shows up in another place entirely: the crust. I snagged this trick from the Four and Twenty Blackbirds all-butter pie dough recipe, which includes cider vinegar. This acidic ingredient supposedly tenderizes the dough, and adds subtle tang, a special something-something.

I folded these crostatas into rectangles, like petite picture frames, showing off my scallion masterpieces. But you could also do squares. Or circles. Just don’t spend too much time shaping the dough, or the butter will melt and the crust will be dense and you’ll be sad. And if you’re unfamiliar with pie-making, consider individual crostatas the perfect place to start. Make one, see how it goes, then carry those lessons onto the others.

Figure one per person, or eat ’em all yourself. After all, they’re your scallion crostatas and you never said you would share.

What's your favorite savory pie? Tell us in the comments.

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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

1 Comment

Winifred R. May 5, 2018
Favorite savory pie hands down for me is our family tourtiere. I need to cut down on the size though and make them in muffin pans or as turnovers since we have only two at home so I don't have it for too long in the 'fridge.