In some ways, this recipe epitomizes my passion for simple, fresh sauces. It’s just hot oil infused with garlic and chiles and loaded with sliced scallions. It’s served crackling hot, poured straight from a wok onto whole fish, grilled steaks, roasted potatoes, or even bowls of plain rice. I call it “Chinese” because it reminds me of some of my favorite dishes. It’s part sauce, part condiment, and part stir-fry. The steely perfume of a hot wok or cast-iron skillet is an important ingredient in this preparation. I’ve made this with just about any greens I’ve had on hand. Try it with chopped ramps, kale, bok choy greens, arugula, or garlic chives. Chopped romaine lettuce works too.
Make sure all of the ingredients are ready before you start. This is a last-minute preparation that is best made and served immediately.
- 1/4 Cup peanut oil
- 3 cloves garlic, thickly sliced
- 1/4 Teaspoon red chile flakes
- 3/4 Cups greens from scallions, thickly sliced
- 1/2 Teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat a wok or a cast-iron skillet over high heat. When heat waves can just be seen rising from the pan, swirl in the oil. Add the garlic and chile flakes and sizzle to infuse the flavor into the oil, about 15 seconds. (If the garlic burns, throw it all out and start over.) Add the scallions and quickly stir to mix—they should sizzle and crackle. Season generously with salt and pepper, immediately pour over the dish to be sauced, and serve.