Allium oschaninii 'Eschalote Grise'
- The French shallot, Allium oschaninii, is not to be confused with the common shallot, Allium cepa L. var. aggregatum.
- The term "shallot" is derived from the French word challot.
- The French grey shallot is called a griselle and many International chefs prefer using grey shallots in their cuisine because of their strong and delicious flavour.
- Like the word "scallion," shallot comes from the Old French escalogne, from the Latin Ascalonia caepa (onion of Ascalon).
- Also called red shallot or gray shallot.
- It has a long and slightly irregular pear-drop shape, with the base not quite in line with the top.
- It is covered with a thin peel like an onion.
Know your French Shallots - Origins
- Originating in Turkestan more than 2000 years ago, the shallot was considered a sacred plant by the Persians and Egyptians.
- It takes its name from the city of Ascalon in the land of the Philistines (now Ashkelon in Israel), where it was grown in ancient times.
- During the time of Charlemagne it entered French gastronomy and as long ago as the Middle Ages it was grown in household gardens.
Know your French Shallots - Storing
- Shallots will keep for a long time if kept in a fairly cool place, away from humidity and light. Once they are peeled they can be stored for 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Know your French Shallots - Cooking
- Cut off both ends and remove the peel. However you don’t need to get your handkerchief out as you do when peeling onions!
- Slowly cooked until very soft, shallots are a pure delight.
- They are a perfect accompaniment to a roast or cold meats.
- Peel the shallots.
- Sweat them in butter; sprinkle with a pinch of sugar and salt and add just enough water to cover.
- Simmer over low heat until the liquid has completely evaporated, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- Serve warm or cold.
- Add some to a quiche filling: they’re delicious paired with crisp bacon bits!
- Shallots temper the acidity of a fresh tomato consommé and add a novel flavor to parsley soup. They can also stand in if you’re short of a leek when preparing a soup for dinner.