Fresh Shallots from France
A delicate bulb
Technically a type of onion, shallots (or eschalots) are delicate and mild in both aroma and flavor.
TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR
These are also known as eschalots or French shallots, and the regions of Brittany and the Loire Valley are the leading producers of shallots in France. They look very much like small onions, but unlike onions, they are much less pungent than onions, and they have a milder flavor. They are firm, with smooth, shiny skin.
PREPARATION AND PAIRINGS
These fresh shallots from France can be served raw, or finely diced and used in salads. They can be roasted, stewed, caramelized, or stir-fried. They can be included in soups, sauces, and stews, and can be used in place of onions in quiches, omelets, etc.
Try this caramelized shallot pasta by Ari Laing:
- Caramelize your shallots by placing shallots (cut into quarters, lengthwise) cut side down on a roasting pan coated in olive oil. Drizzle with more olive oil, and lightly season with salt. Roast in a preheated oven at 425F (218C) for 25 minutes.
- Boil your pasta in salted water until al dente, reserving about a cup of pasta water once done.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and extra virgin olive oil together. Add in minced garlic, anchovies, and lemon zest. Stir together, and break up the anchovies.
- Once everything comes together, add in breadcrumbs, and stir until toasted and light golden brown in color.
- Add in the cooked pasta to the pan. Add in your caramelized shallots, some of the reserved pasta water, grated Parmigiano Reggiano, a bit more butter, fresh lemon juice, and chopped parsley. Mix everything together with tongs, and season as needed.
- Transfer into a serving bowl, and garnish with more grated parmesan, and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Serve immediately.
FROM ASIA TO AMERICA, AND EVERYWHERE
Shallots are believed to have originated in Central Asia, about 2,000 years ago. The Ancient Persians and Egyptians considered it a sacred plant. Their name comes from the ancient Palestinian city of Ashkelon (formerly Ascalon), and was given by the ancient Greek traders. The French name, eschalot, comes from the Old French, “escalogne,” which in turn comes from the Latin Ascalonia caepa, or “onion of Ascalon.” They made their way to France, introduced by crusaders coming back from the Holy Land. And European settlers introduced it to the Americas, and are particularly esteemed in Louisana.
Raw shallots, when still whole, must be kept in a cool and dry place, like the pantry or a cupboard. Humidity will make them mold quicker. Considering Philippine climates, you may also keep your shallots in the refrigerator. Consume within 1 month.