Neighborly Onion Soup

April 24, 2012
Author Notes

A lady down the street has a bed of beautiful white onions growing just outside her back fence. I've kept an eye on them to see of they're being cut (or dug). They haven't been touched. I had made vegetable stock this morning, and since thundershowers are forecast for the evening hours, soup would be nice. But it needed to be a light, springy soup.
I decided today was the day to meet the onion lady. I'd baked a bunch of baguettes this morning, so I wrapped one up and tied it with some string, walked down, and rang her doorbell. Happily, she didn't think I was crazy asking if I could trade her a baguette for some of her onion scapes. She said, in fact, that I'd be doing her a favor if I returned and cut as many as I wanted. That can be arranged.

Leftovers make a lovely lunch. Alternatively, share some with a nice neighbor.


  • Serves 4
  • 1 1/2 quarts vegetable stock, your own or a good organic one
  • 2 cups onion scapes, 1/4" slices
  • Juice of 1 lemon (zest it first)
  • 3 eggs
  • Sea or kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 slices from a good baguette
  • 4 ounces soft (room temperature) butter
  • 4 teaspoons of snipped chives (I use scissors)
  • Zest of one lemon
In This Recipe
  1. Set the oven to broil. This comes together very quickly, so have all your mise en place (prep work, basically) done.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the soft butter, chives, and lemon zest. Do not butter the baguette slices before broiling them. Chives are quite delicate, and the warmth of the grilled bread is just perfect for both melting the butter and for bringing out the bright flavor of the chives and lemon zest. Set the slices of baguette on a baking sheet not lined with parchment. Broil both sides of the slices to a deep golden brown. When done, remove from the oven and spread each side with the butter-chive-lemon mixture. Keep any leftover butter; it will be wonderful on toast with a poached egg resting on top.
  3. While the bread is broiling, begin heating stock to a simmer. Add the onion scapes. Cook only as long as it takes for the scapes to heat through; they want to retain some of their tender crunch.
  4. In a small heatproof bowl whisk together eggs and lemon juice. Temper in a ladle of hot soup, whisking all the while. Slowly whisk egg mixture back into the soup. It will take on a lovely, silken consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle soup into bowls, and dip a crostini into each one.
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