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Shallots 101

Shallots 101

Often mistaken for small onions, shallots are a delicious tiny vegetable that’s actually a more flavourful cousin of the bulbous onion. Shallots come in all shapes and sizes. Some are elongated and others can come attached in segments like garlic cloves. With papery thin skin, shallots can be tricky to cut but are certainly worth the extra effort. 

 

Peeling

  • Much like an onion you can peel shallots by cutting off the tops and bottoms first.
  • Then use a knife to prise off the skin.
  • A good tip is to soak the shallots for 10 minutes in hot water. This helps loosen the skin making it easier to remove.

 

Slicing

  • Due to their tiny size shallots are usually consumed sliced up.
  • To slice a shallot simply peel it and make lengthwise slices along the body of the shallot
  • If your shallots are large then cut them in half and then make the parallel slices.
  • Sliced shallots are perfect for salads and/or to eat raw.

 

Rings

  • To cut your shallots into rings first peel the shallots.
  • Holding it firmly on the cutting board start making parallel cuts across the body of the shallot starting from the tip onwards.
  • You can separate out the shallot rings for a better appearance. These are popular for soups and pickles.

 

Crushed

  • To crush shallots is a great way to release the flavour of the vegetable without compromising its shape.
  • Just toss a few into your mortar and pestle and give them a light pounding.
  • These shallots should be used when preparing stews or curries.

 

Other Information

  • Pick shallots that are free of soft spots. They colour should be even and free of black-brown mouldy patches.

 

Storage:

  • To store your shallots keep them in a cool dry place away from any humidity or moisture. They should keep for many days, generally up to two weeks depending on the quality of your shallots.
  • You can even refrigerate your shallots if desired. However, once removed they should be consumed immediately.
  • You can even peel shallots and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.

 

Note:  Shallots are also called Sambar onions in India and can be found in the purple and white varieties.

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