Food

Savory Shallots

February 19, 2014

iStock_000006601024SmallI wrote one simple column on leeks and within 24 hours of it being published, I received four emails asking why I had not written about shallots because they’re more interesting, tasty and fun than leeks. It seems that if you like leeks, you LOVE shallots.

So, what exactly is a shallot you ask? A shallot, like its cousins the onion and garlic, is a member of the Allium family. Shallots are the smaller, sweeter, deeper and richer flavored (not to mention more expensive) branch of the family. The shallot, like garlic, grows in clusters. Shallots have coppery paper-thin skin and their flesh is slightly off white with a pink/purple hue in some cases.

When choosing your shallots, think about what you look for in onions. Shallots should be firm and heavy for their size with no soft spots and the papery outer skin should be tight to the shallot. Forget any that have sprouts, they’re old. I go for the smaller shallots as they tend to be milder and sweeter than the larger ones.

You can actually substitute shallots for onions but you’ll only need half the amount of shallot that you would onion. One of the nice aspects of using shallots is that they can be minced or chopped then frozen raw for up to three months. When you thaw shallots they will be soft so you can get away without sauteing them.

The following recipes range from super easy to “hmm maybe more complicated than I want to attempt” but trust me on this, they’re all delicious and worth the effort. Once you go shallot, you’ll never go back to just plain old onions.

Note: With Pesach not too far off just know that all of the recipes, with the exception of the one with pasta and peanuts, are chometz free and a great change of pace during Chol Hamoed.

 

ROASTED SHALLOTS AND POTATOES (pareve)
I recommend Yukon Gold potatoes for this recipe.

6 large shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
pinch of paprika

Preheat oven to 400° with rack on lowest rung. In a bowl, combine the shallots with 1 1/2 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and a pinch of paprika. Place the potatoes and shallots in a 9×13 baking pan, spreading evenly. Roast, stirring occasionally, until shallots are golden, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Modified from epicurious.com

 

LEMON SHALLOT CHICKEN BREASTS (meat)

1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 teaspoon allspice
8 boneless and skinless chicken breasts cut in half
8 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh)
3 tablespoons shallots minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
4 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped, garnish

Preheat oven to 200°. In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon. Rub the mixture over both sides of chicken. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Sear the chicken and then cook for 4 minutes per side. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked (make sure not to overcook). Place the cooked chicken in a large glass baking dish, cover with foil and keep warm in the oven. Do not clean the pan when done cooking the chicken.

Add the wine to the skillet and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits off the bottom. Add the broth, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and the zest. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes. Add the shallots, thyme, remaining olive oil, lemon juice, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon allspice. Whisk to combine and cook for 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove the chicken from the oven and cut into slices. Place it on a serving platter, spoon the sauce over the top and serve with the chopped parsley. Serves 8

My files, source unknown

 

BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH SHALLOT AND PINE NUTS (dairy or pareve)

2 pounds Brussels sprouts
6 tablespoons butter or margarine or olive oil
3/4 cup pine nuts
4 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 cup fresh basil, sliced thin
1 lemon, juiced
kosher salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste

Trim the ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut an ”X” on the bottom of each one. Boil 5 cups of water and add 2 teaspoons of salt. Place the Brussels sprouts in the boiling water and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until tender. Immediately drain and rinse the Brussels sprouts in cold water. Pat dry and cut in half. Set them aside.

Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a saute pan. Add the pine nuts and cook, stirring constantly about 3 minutes while watching carefully so they don’t burn. Remove the nuts and set them aside. Don’t clean the pan. In the same pan, melt the remaining butter and add the shallots. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until slightly soft and add the garlic. Cook for 1 minute and then add the Brussels sprouts, 1/2 of the pine nuts and the basil. Cook, stirring constantly until heated through, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and remaining pine nuts. Mix to combine, season with additional salt and pepper is desired. Serves 6.

Submitted by Rachel Zimmerman Chicago IL source unknown

 

SPRING ROLL SALAD WITH SHALLOT PEANUT SAUCE (pareve)

I was given this recipe by a friend after I tried it at her home and instantly fell in love. It is a bit daunting with all the ingredients but oh my goodness, it’s worth the extra trip to the grocery.

3/4 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 ounces (4 cups loosely packed) fettuccine style rice noodles
2 carrots, sliced into matchsticks (1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts, chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Cut the stems off the shiitakes and discard them (or save them for stock). Thinly slice the caps; you should have 5 cups. Toss the shiitakes in a bowl with the olive oil and soy sauce. Spread the mushrooms out on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Roast, stirring twice, until the mushrooms are shrunken, browned, and fairly crisp, about 40 minutes.  Place the mushrooms in a small bowl and set it aside.

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat, add the noodles, and let them sit until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and rinse the noodles for at least 30 seconds under cold water to prevent sticking.

Toss the noodles in a bowl with the carrots and herbs. Mound a portion of noodles onto each plate and drizzle the peanut sauce over the top. Sprinkle with the mushrooms and peanuts. Serves 8.

You can use a dash or two of soy sauce to kick it up a bit too.

 

Roasted Shallot Peanut Sauce
This versatile peanut sauce is sweet with a spicy kick. It’s great on a variety of dishes. Heat the sauce or serve it at room temperature.

3 medium shallots, unpeeled
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

Preheat the oven to 375°. Place the shallots on a parchment-covered baking sheet and roast until they are very tender and the juices have started to ooze out, 30 to 35 minutes. Let the shallots cool slightly, and then squeeze the pulp out of the skins. Place the shallot pulp and all the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth. The sauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to a week. Warm before serving. Makes 2 cups.

Modified from cookbook author Myra Kornfeld’s recipe, original source unknown

© Eileen Goltz shallots 14a