Could the world get along very well without onions or garlic? Probably not very well, as we include them in most everything we cook. Could the world get along without shallots? Probably! However, it would be a world without a very interesting, distinctive, mellow, sophisticated, hard-to-place, musky-flavored member of the onion family.
Shallots are heralded highly in the fancy kitchens of France and are an integral part of their classical sauces, compounded butters and dressings.
While growing, in the ground, shallots form a little differently from their cousins and rather than being separate little bulbs, they tend to form in clusters of bulbs. Some have a redish hue to their skins while others are gray in tone. Shallot purists insist the grays are superior.
And, yes, most any onion can substitute for the unique shallot, only its subtleness will be absent! Your loss.
Shallot’s botanical name, Allium ascalonicum, comes from the town, Ascalon, in Palestine where they are believed to have originated. Their popularity then tends to have drifted to India and on to the general Mediterranean.
Shallot fumes will not linger on one’s breath.
Go for shallots which are heavy for their size, firm and lacking bruises or spots. Avoid any which have begun to sprout. Do not refrigerate shallots, as this encourages their sprouting process.
Shallots can last up to two months if stored in a clean mesh container and hung from the ceiling with dry air circulation.
SERVING SUGGESTIONS & “GO-WITHS”
- Beef terijaki
- Crispy fried topping
- Eat raw or cooked
- Egg dishes
- Foil veggie grill packs
- Mashed potatoes
- Salad dressings
Foodsites with recipes using shallots.