Savory Scones with I’itoi Onions

Wintertime is the time to turn on the oven and bake some yummy treats like these scones with a hint of onion.  It’s just a hint of onion because we are using I’itoi onions – a mild-flavored perennial onion that grows well in the Southwest winter season.  They retreat underground with the heat of summer.

Where to Find I’itoi Onions

I’itoi onions (pronounced “e-e-toy”) are shared around Southern Arizona by gardeners and afficianados. They are also sold through Native Seeds/SEARCH (NS/S). NS/S says that the ones they offer “resemble the wild onions harvested on I’itoi Mountain, also known as Baboquivari Mountain, by Tohono O’odham people. The name I’itoi is signifies the Elder Brother.” I’itoi is easiest defined to European culture as the creator deity in Tohono O’odham lore.

Delicate I’itoi onions are a tasty delight to cook with. Photo courtesy of Native Seeds/SEARCH.

Nerd Note

Botanical studies place the I’itoi onion among a very old line of clumping onions brought to the Southwest by Jesuit missionaries sometime in the 1700’s, concluding that this onion is not necessarily a New World native.

Tasty Onions

Whatever their botanical heritage, I’itoi onions are eagerly sought out by chefs for their mild shallot-like bulbs and slightly spicy greens. The peppery flavor pairs well with Southwestern cuisine. They are very easy to cultivate and in the low and middle desert.

How to grow these great little local onions?  Savor Sister Jacqueline Soule -wrote about that this week on her website: – here.

Scones are traditionally wedge shaped but you don’t have to make them that way.

I’itoi Onion Scones

Makes 12

2 cups all purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 /2 cup I'itoi onion fresh green tops - chopped small
1/ 4 chilled soft goat cheese
      optionally similar soft cows milk cheese, like queso fresco
1 /3 cup chilled half & half or whole milk
     (oat milk also works but not almond milk)
1 large egg – or extra large egg - great with a duck egg!

Prepare the Scones

Preheat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients – flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add cheese and I’itoi onions and fold together.

If you make your own queso fresco it is wonderful to add the I’itoi onions to it and allow it to absorb the taste of the onions.

Beat liquid and egg to in small bowl.

Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients and mix gently until dough forms.

Knead until firm but do not overwork.

Divide dough in half.

On lightly floured surface, flatten each piece into a 3/4-inch thick round wad of dough. Traditional – cut each large round into six wedges.

Place scones on cookie sheet with baking parchment or lightly sprayed with cooking oil.

Bake until tops are golden, about 25 minutes.

Cool scones off the baking sheet – on a wire rack if you have one.


Serve your scones with real butter.  Savor the flavors!  This is not something to wolf down on your way to work.

Eat local! Instead of non-local blueberries try some scones made with I’itoi onions from your own yard!

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honey-savor-southwestMore fun with Monica in: Using Honey in New & Savory Ways (Tierra del Sol Institute Press). Only $7 online – or buy from Monica or Jacqueline in person. This link is to Amazon and if you buy the book there the Horticulture Therapy non-profit Tierra del Sol Institute will get a few pennies at no additional cost to you.

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