In the early 1960s, Julia Child introduced Americans to shallots, small oval-shaped bulbs with papery skin that look like miniature onions. They’re an essential ingredient in fine French cooking that was virtually unavailable some 50-odd years ago. There simply were no growers in the US! Thank goodness shallots are easy to come by these days. Shallots are valued for their mild flavor, which has been called a perfect union of onion and garlic. Although they have many similarities to onions and garlic, their flavor is more sweet, mild and delicate.
Shallots add flavor to a wide variety of recipes. Try them scrambled with eggs for breakfast, diced into soup for lunch and added to a flavorful sauce for fish or meat at dinner. They can be used in place of onions in many recipes, and depending on the dish, you may want to swap them in if a sweeter, more subtle end result is desired. Here are some delicious ideas:
Sauté shallots in olive oil, butter, coconut oil or ghee. Add other vegetables such as leafy greens, green beans, broccoli, and (red, orange or yellow) bell peppers like in these:
How about sweet and tangy Pork Chops with Apples and Shallots?
Green Beans with Shallots and Almonds make a great side dish for the holidays or a weeknight dinner of roasted fish.
Use shallots along with green onions or chives when making stuffing or pilaf like this Brown Jasmine Rice Pilaf. This holiday season consider serving Mushroom Stuffing with Shallots and Fresh Herbs or Dried Apricot, Shallot and Hazelnut Stuffing.
Add shallots to dips and spreads like in this Winter Squash Crostini recipe.
Slow cook chopped shallots in olive oil or butter over low heat until browned and sweet. Then use it as a garnish for soups, casseroles, hot cooked grain dishes and more.
Add shallots to quiche and savory tarts like our delicious Wild Mushroom Tart.
Shallots are a classic sauce addition. Steak with Red Wine-Herb Sauce is made with chopped shallots and fresh herbs, and it is heavenly! Pork Medallions with Raspberry Sauce makes a quick meal flavored with sauce made from shallots, white wine and raspberries.
Sauté shallots and tomatoes with fresh herbs; toss with hot cooked pasta.
Add finely diced shallots to salad dressing recipes. My favorite is simple vinaigrette made with extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, a dash of dried mustard and minced fresh shallots. Ham and Barley Salad is a hearty salad featuring shallot and mustard vinaigrette.
Be sure to look for shallots with firm, dry bulbs that are free of sprouts. If purchased fresh, they’ll keep for about 3 to 4 weeks in a cool, dry place.
Are you familiar with shallots? Got a favorite idea or recipe? Let me know.