Scallion oil is one of those things that I hesitate to call a garnish, simply because it adds so much more than just a final flourish to a dish. I have a friend who loves this stuff so much that I always made sure I had some on hand when I knew she was coming over. She, like me, loved simply mixing it with white rice and then adding nuoc cham sauce. I’d usually serve this with grilled pork chop, but I don’t think she (or I) would’ve minded just having the rice.

In Vietnamese cuisine, scallion oil is often drizzled over rice, noodles, rice noodle sheets or rolls, and banh hoi or rice vermicelli sheets. It adds a fragrance and richness to the otherwise bland starch. Usually, nuoc cham dressing is also mixed in as well when the dish is served.

Scallion Oil
Makes about 1/4 cup

3 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

Put the chopped scallions in a heatproof bowl. Heat the oil in a small skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Test to see whether the oil is hot by dropping in a piece of chopped garlic or scallion and seeing if it sizzles. When hot, add the garlic (if using) and allow it to turn golden. After the garlic has turned golden, take the pan off the heat and immediately pour over the chopped scallions. The oil may splatter a little bit, so stand back. The scallions should sizzle and then wilt. Drizzle over rice, noodles, or noodle sheets. Keeps for about a week in the refrigerator. Return to room temperature before serving.