"scallions" news and stories
|Zucchini, Potato and Scallion Pancakes. Photo: Rec(ession)ipes.
And these zucchini, potato and scallion pancakes from Rec(ession)ipes beautifully capture the colors of autumn, while sneaking in the last tastes of summer. Pan-fried and topped with a dollop of chive sour cream, a glimpse at these almost makes up for the fact that we'll be seeing a lot less of the sun for a while. Almost.
After green onions were identified as the source of contamination for an E. coli outbreak at several East Coast Taco Bells, the company not only recalled all the scallions at its 5,800 locations nationwide, but sent out samples of the rest of their food products for testing to ensure that no other foods were at risk. The tests have come back negative, leaving the green onions as the sole source for the bacteria.
Taco Bell has switched produce suppliers, but with 61 cases identified, including 48 hospitalizations and 7 cases of kidney failure, the company is not out of the woods yet. Lawsuits are already being filed on behalf of some of those who were victims of the contamination, and because most chain restaurants have indemnity agreements with their suppliers, the company will be the one held accountable in these cases.
The company is working to sanitize and reopen stores that closed as a result of the outbreak.
If you recall from September, there was an E. coli outbreak involving bagged spinach that got it pulled from supermarket shelves, restaurant menus and just about everywhere else after a few people became ill. It turns out that there is a connection between that incident and the most recent Taco Bell E. coli scare, where more than 50 people have become ill. Taco Bell already decided to pull their green onions from menus and check the safety of their other ingredients, but as the investigation continuted, it was discovered that the produce in question was processed by the California-based Ready Pac Produce company - the same one that was blamed for that spinach outbreak.
Ready Pac is the green onion supplier to the New England areas were outbreaks were reported at Taco Bells. They stopped production at their New Jersey plant so that federal inspectors could conduct tests. It is reported that the company is also testing their produce in California.
It should be noted, however, that the final results are not in yet and it cannot be said with certainty that Ready Pac supplied or processed the contaminated onions. Green onions are notoriously difficult to clean due to their multi-layered structure and have been responsible for several cases of food-borne illness in the past decade.
Some places, parts of the deep South and at least a few spots in Australia, for example, often use the word
“shallots” to apply to green onions, or scallions. Though the white portion of a green onion has a similar
flavor, it is not as subtle or delicate as the flavor of a shallot.
Shallots are bulbs that look like a cross between garlic and onion, which is remarkable given that their taste is
similar to a sweet onion with a hint of garlic. They have a golden or reddish-brown, papery skin, like that of an onion
that should be smooth when fresh and a slightly pink interior. The bulbs can sometimes be divided into
"cloves", but when a recipe refers to a number of shallots, it is referring to the whole bulbs.
Fresh shallots should be slightly firm to the touch, with no soft spots. Smaller shallots will be slightly sweeter
than larger ones. The complex flavor of a shallot makes it a popular ingredient in French cooking. Shallots caramelize like onions, but can become bitter over too
high a heat, like garlic does. Approximately three shallots will equal one medium onion, in terms of size. Try
substituting shallots in place of the garlic and onions in a recipe to compare the flavor, or try one of these