Shallots are small to medium in size, averaging five centimeters in length, depending on the specific variety, and are oblong with tapered ends. The bulbous bulbs are encased in a dry, papery, thin skin that flakes when touched and ranges in color from copper, gold, pale pink, to red. Inside the skin, there are clusters of cloves divided into individually wrapped segments similar to garlic. Small Shallot varieties average 2-3 cloves, and larger varieties typically contain 3-6 cloves. The firm, dense, and juicy cloves are off-white to translucent with light purple rings. Shallots are aromatic, spicy, sweet, and crisp when raw and when cooked, they develop a delicate, sweet, and savory flavor with notes of garlic.
Shallots are available year-round.
Shallots are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as roasting, sauteing, and grilling. When raw, they can be chopped and mixed into salads, topped on bruschetta, blended into sauces such as Béarnaise, minced into guacamole, and stirred into dips such as French vinaigrette’s. When cooked, Shallots can be sauteed with salt, pepper, butter, cream, citrus, or vinegar and paired with meats or cooked vegetables, combined into lentil stews, baked into casseroles, or tossed with pasta. They can also be roasted and dipped in a mixture of Greek yogurt and olive oil. Deep-fried Shallots are used as a condiment and served with porridge in Asia. Shallots pair well with tomatoes, mushrooms, green beans, garlic, capers, baked oysters, Parmesan cheese, beer. The bulbs will keep up to one month when stored in a cool, dry, and dark place.