Friday, 1 October 2010

Discover French Shallots

Allium oschaninii 'Eschalote Grise'

  • The French shallotAllium oschaninii, is not to be confused with the common shallotAllium 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. 

No comments:

Post a Comment