Cooking with shallots

This article was originally published in February 2013

Shallots, with their refined flavor of a mild onion and hint of garlic, have long been mainstays in French and Asian cooking.

While they are more expensive than onions, you often need very little to impart a savory taste to dishes. Because they are sweeter and less bitter than onions, they are perfect for dishes that won’t be cooked at all or for only a short time, such as vinaigrettes and stir-fries. They also work well with sautéed greens or added to tuna or chicken salad.

Find organic shallots at PCC; choose smaller ones for a milder taste. Store in a single layer in a dry, well-ventilated place for up to a month. Refrigerate cut shallots for up to a week. To prepare, begin by pulling apart the bulbs. For each bulb, trim off the ends, slice in half lengthwise, peel off the papery skin, cut lengthwise and then cut across the slices as finely as you like.


Simple ways to use shallots

Fried shallots

Over medium heat, sauté sliced shallots in oil, stirring frequently, until they are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Dry on a paper towel. Scatter over dishes such as mashed potatoes, soups, salads or meats, and then save the infused oil for other cooking.

Pan sauce

Sauté two shallots and one garlic clove over medium heat until soft; add 1/3 cup white wine to deglaze the pan. Add slightly less stock; reduce liquid to half, and finish with a teaspoon of butter. Spoon over cooked chicken, steak, or tofu cutlets.


Whisk together shallots, Dijon mustard, olive oil and your choice of vinegar, such as red wine, cider or rice vinegar. Finish with a dash of salt and pepper and some fresh herbs.

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