Most home cooks are familiar with onions and garlic, but many have never cooked with shallots for one reason or another. They are an ingredient that can separate the men from the boys in the kitchen.

Technically, shallots are alliums which is informally referred to as the onion genus. Allium is actually Latin for garlic. Shallots taste more like an onion, however, but with a milder flavor.

Don't confuse dry shallots in a jar with what I'm talking about... fresh shallots are the real deal:

click photo to enlarge

Next time you're at the market, pick up a few to experiment with. Make sure they are nice and firm, not soft or squishy. They are usually in a bin like this:

Try using one in a wine reduction sauce for steak. Mince it finely, saute in some butter, add some wine and/or stock, and then reduce the liquid to intensify the flavor. Serve over your favorite steak dish like au poivre or off the grill. You could also try adding some diced shallots to smashed red potatoes.

For more shallot recipes, check out this page.

Cooking Tips

>Cook with Wine
Use wine and spirits to boost flavor!

>Fresh Herbs
Many home cooks use dry herbs, some old enough to be in small metal tins! It's time to move past the quick and easy and try some fresh herbs.

>Grill Smoke
Use this clever trick to add smoke flavor to grilled food.

>Hang your Pots and Pans
Make every pot and pan easy to get... covers too!

>Home-made Stock
Next time you want chicken, buy the whole bird. Then make chicken stock using my simple recipe. You'll never buy that canned stuff again!

>Lapsang Souchong Tea
In A New Way to Cook, Sally Schneider extolls the virtues of lapsang souchong tea to make smokey tea essence.

>Measure by Hand
Learn what a TSP and TBS look like in your hand to speed up cooking.

They've been said to be like a cross between an onion and garlic, but they're really their own thing. Just get some, and cook with them. You'll never look back!

>Sharp Knives
If you have a sharpener, this tip doesn't even cost you a cent... unless, of course, you cut yourself in the process and end up at the emergency room! If you don't have a sharpener, it's time to invest in one.

>Spice Rack
Maybe it is time to organize your herbs and spices. You can weed out ove-the-hill spices while you're at it.

>Squeeze Bottles
Yea, kind of flashy, almost celebratory, but you can use them like the pros to make things look nice too.

>Steel Cut Oats
What to do with this miserable product if you get caught with a tub.

>True Citrus
Real citrus in crystallized form, available in lemon, lime, and orange. Substitute for zest or extract.

© 2023 D K Dickey — All Rights Reserved