4 things you may not know about shallots
- They are an indispensable ingredient in most classic French reductions and sauces.
- Although similar to onions, shallots grow in small clusters of bulbs on one plant (more like garlic).
- Their flavour is concentrated-somewhere between the taste of garlic and onions.
- They were named after the ancient city of Ascalon when 12th-century Crusaders returned home from the town with armloads in tow.
2 ways to try shallots right now
- In the saucy, rich French beurre blanc with a twist: use red wine vinegar instead of white and serve with white fish.
- Roasted whole in the oven with beets and thyme for a Sunday dinner side dish.
1 tip all good chefs know
- As with garlic, browning shallots over high heat will make them bitter; use low to moderate heat to soften and caramelize.
2 types of shallots to try
- Long ‘banana' shallots, with their lovely mild flavour.
- Grey shallots from France called 'griselles'; they're la crème de la crème for French chefs.
1 essential tool for shallots
- Use a professional 8- to 12-inch cook's knife with a deep blade, like Trident, Global or Henckels.
1 thing to remember at the grocery store
- Shallots should be firm and heavy for their size. Avoid ones that have sprouted, and ones with soft spots.