Notes from a small island
A weblog by Jonathan Ali

Sunday, January 05, 2003  

Today I found myself investigating, for the first time, a shallot.

I've always been on the lookout for shallots in the supermarket but was always disappointed, until last week. I snapped up a package of five, about twelve dollars. (I suppose that's costly, but what price culinary exploration?)

Making a tomato sauce to go with pasta for lunch, I peeled and diced one shallot. The colour of red onion, the size of a couple of very large cloves of garlic, quite pungent. Sauteed in olive oil, its own essential oils released, it had a wonderful perfume all its own that permeated the sauce beautifully. So I was rather bemused to find the entry for the shallot in my food bible, the New Larousse Gastronomique less than enthusiastic:

"SHALLOT. Échalote. Pot vegetable which, according to Candolle (French botanist 1806-1893) is merely a derivative of the onion, with a slight taste of garlic. Some people find the shallot more readily digestible than onion." (Recipes for shallot butter and essence of shallot followed.)

Anyway. I look forward to more variations on the theme shallot, as well as experimentations with some of the other produce appearing on our supermarket shelves for the first time, particularly the different types of mushrooms.

posted by Jonathan | 1:58 PM 0 comments


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