Sunday, June 13, 2010


I wrote this a little while back for Relish magazine, and while I did receive a check, I never saw the published, I thought I would share it with you (unedited, of course)...

An Overlooked Bulb
It was once believed that contemporary gourmands had to introduce the shallot to Americans. Julia Child described the unknown member of the onion family at length and often suggested mincing the white part of a green onion when the violet bulbs could not be found. The truth, in fact, is that cooks like Ms. Child re-introduced the shallot. Recipe collections dating back to the founding of this country contain countless entries which almost all call for “an Eschalot or two”. Yet, somewhere along the line, their use fell out of favor. Fortunately for us, they’ve been back for a while. Dry shallots (with papery skin like garlic) are available year round; fresh green youngsters pop up in the spring. Milder than their cousins, the cloves lend a subtle piquant nature to a dish. Roasted, they are sweeter and luscious. Raw, they are somewhat sharp and zippy. Often unnoticed, shallots are a gem on any plate.

Roasted Shallots

This technique yields two recipes from one. Adorn chicken or pork with the roasted shallots and garlic. Set aside two shallots along with the cooking oil to make a light vinaigrette, perfect for spring greens.

Makes 1 cup roasted shallots plus 1/2 cup vinaigrette

12 shallots, peeled
4 cloves garlic, peeled
3 sprigs rosemary
3 sprigs thyme
½ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Toss together all ingredients except for vinegar. Roast, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until shallots are soft and caramelized.
3. Drain shallots; discard herbs. Reserve oil and 2 shallots; cool.
4. In a food processor, combine 2 shallots with vinegar. While the machine is running, slowly drizzle in the reserved oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Shallot Gremolata

A simple garnish, the combination of punchy flavors will perk up any beef stew, grilled steak, baked potato, or braised lamb. To top tacos, substitute cilantro for parsley and lime zest for lemon.

Makes 1/2 cup

5 shallots, peeled and minced
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
Zest of 2 lemons
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a small bowl, mix all of the ingredients.

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