Are these scallions? scapes? ramps? I didn’t clearly recognize the bulby bundle in the market, but I remember buying them last year and chopping them into salads, raw, and they were delicious. Some internet search later and I now know that these are true spring onions. I think I have interchanged the terms scallion, green onion, and spring onion in the past, but there is a distinction. Scallions have a white head that is no wider than the green stem. Green onions have a narrow, straight head and spring onions are developing into bulb shapes, though are still not very mature. They will have the most pungent flavor of the three and will be the most suitable to take the place of garlic in a pesto.
I never wavered in my decision that the nut must be walnuts. I could taste that flavor combination in my mind’s taste buds and it was good. After grinding 1 cup of nuts and about two cups of washed and trimmed onions in the food processor, I added enough of our local cold-pressed olive oil to make a desirable paste and finished it with fleur de sel so it would have flaky bits of salt mixed throughout. Just to bring up the brightness and color a little, I added about 1/2 cup of basil pesto I had prepared in the freezer. I tossed the pesto with hot penne pasta and topped it with a tomato salad, dressed in lemon juice, olive oil, fleur de sel, and pepper.
The flavor is not so biting as pesto made with garlic. It is warmer and more buttery, but still very potent. Puree this pesto with white beans for a fantastic dip or a spread for bruschetta.
PS: I’m going to have to tell you that my friend, Claire Bear, did not like this pesto. She found it unpleasantly pungent and I value her outspokediness. Out of loyalty to my readership, which might just be Claire, I need to disclose this. I recommend the following: If you aren’t going to puree this pesto with white beans or even if you are, blend in some grated Parmesan cheese until you find the right mellowing balance. Under no circumstances add lemon juice to make it less pungent.