Shallots are considered the gourmet onion and are preferred in French and Asian cooking. Delicious raw or cooked, they have a wide range of end uses.
Shallots keep well in a cool dry place. In Australia, Japanese bunching onions and spring onions are often referred to as shallots.
Roughly the same size or slightly larger than pickling onions, their skin colour ranges from coppery yellow to reddish brown. The bulbs are elongated or oval and are formed in several clusters or bulblets. Shallots have a more delicate, sweeter taste and finer texture than onions.
The two most commonly grown varieties are Monique, a round and elongated shaped bulb, and Roderique, an oval shaped bulb. There is no noticeable difference in flavour.
What to look for
Choose shallots with firm flesh and dry papery outer skin. Avoid those with green shoots or soft spots.
Available: February to April
Store in a cool, dark, well ventilated place. Do not put them in plastic bags; if purchased in plastic, remove as soon as possible. Avoid refrigerating or storing with any food that may absorb their flavour.
How to prepare
Remove skin and root, cut as required; slice, dice, wedge or leave whole. Braising; blanch first. Roasting; skin can be left on when roasted whole. Stuffing; peel, cut off top, scoop out centre to leave 1 cm shell. The release of oil during peeling brings tears to the eyes – there is no guaranteed way of avoiding this. The best advice is to peel and slice quickly.
Ways to eat
Shallots can be eaten raw, cooked or pickled. Shallots can add flavour and texture to recipes. They can be used in soups, braises, stews, pizzas, pies, pasta dishes, salads, sandwiches, sauces, chutneys and stir fries.
Boil, microwave, roast, steam, stir fry, braise, stew.
Remove all loose husks. Only stock graded quality product. Plastic causes condensation and encourages rapid deterioration, therefore netting bags are preferable for merchandising. Do not place near items that might absorb flavours. Keep well ventilated. Use the QR code on labels.
Store other shallots at 0°C and 65% humidity to prevent sprouting.
Purchase shallots with the New Zealand GAP logo.