Ode to the Shallot

good taste that’s worth the tears

“to the discerning palate it reveals a taste mild, alimentary and exotic; chef and diner have discovered its appeal in many a dish, not the least bit quixotic.”

What do artichokes with yogurt mustard, avocado yoghurt dip, balsamic butter, basque oxtails, billi bi mussel soup, cheese and onion beignets, creole olive salad, duxelles mushroom paste, lobster thermidor, prawns sambuca and fried rice have in common?

In a word: shallot.

True connoisseurs of scallions will be acquainted with this humble but hardy onion, which has found its culinary calling in the cookpots of cultures all over the world.

With origins dating back to ancient classical Greek times, the succulent shallot, a diminutive member of the scallion family, shares traits of onion and garlic in moderation, offering the best of both worlds, while retaining a sweetness, aromatic quality and je ne sais crois that are uniquely its own (part of its grassroots appeal–pun intended).

Putting the bad puns and tantalizing affects on the tastebuds aside for just a moment, shallots–also available in an eclectic set of shades (grey, golden brown and rose red) and shapes–are also a remarkably guilt-free addition to the diet. They’re ridiculously low on saturated fats, sodium and cholesterol, and contain no sugars, but are good sources of Vitamins A, B6 and C, potassium and manganese. Plus, they possess anti-inflammatory benefits that are conducive to a healthy lifestyle. It’s a real treat to be able to justify your favourite foods!

Unless you were born without tear ducts, you will shed a few tears slicing, dicing or julienning them, but since they’re not quite as pungent or overwhelming as the big onions, the good news is that you’re less likely to be socially unacceptable after having them.

My preference is for the red, teardrop-shaped variety of shallots that’s been finely sliced, deep fried and freeze dried to become an indispensable garnish to many an Asian dish–or just about any dish that needs a subtle hint of flavour. It’s almost worth crying over.

Nutritional facts and figures were obtained here. Recipes were obtained here
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One thought on “Ode to the Shallot

  1. Pingback: If It Slices or Dices, It Entices « Mark My Words…

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