Oct 27, 2016

Shallots

Shallots from Friendly Market
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Onions and shallots come from the same family, but shallots lack the bite you get with yellow or white onions, and have a sweet and mild flavor, with a hint of garlic. Shallots are common here in Hawaii, but originated in Central or Southwest Asia, travelling from there to India and the eastern Mediterranean. The French use more shallots, known as échalote, than onions in their fine cuisine.

I love the color of shallots, varying from golden brown to gray to rose red, and their off-white flesh is usually tinged with green or magenta. Shallots work especially well in dishes where they're eaten raw, like dressings and salads, and can seamlessly blend into delicate quiches and custards. 

Here are a few recipes to try using Shallots:


Lobster & Avocado Martini Salad
Ingredients:
2 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons lemon juice, divided
1 pound cooked lobster meat, coarsely chopped
2 shallots, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
Old Bay Seasoning, to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil or mayonnaise
2 teaspoons horseradish
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 cup fresh, cooked corn kernels
one handful chopped parsley
1 jalapeno, minced (optional)

Procedure:
Whisk the melted butter and one tablespoon of the lemon juice. In a bowl mix the lobster pieces with the butter/lemon mixture and one of the chopped shallots. Add salt and pepper. Lightly sprinkle with the Old Bay Seasoning. (There’s salt in the Old Bay so consider this when adding the regular salt). In another bowl whisk the oil or mayonnaise with the horseradish, remaining one tablespoon of lemon juice, and the lemon zest. Add the remaining ingredients. Taste and adjust seasoning. If it needs more zing, add a little more horseradish or lemon. If too sharp, add additional oil or mayonnaise. Spoon into martini glasses and serve. Makes 6 servings.


Crispy Fried Shallots
Shallots are wonderful when thinly sliced with a sharp knife, then dusted with flour and fried until crispy. They are good all by themselves as a side dish, or as a topping on Hawaiian ahi poke, grilled steaks, roast chicken, pork chops, oven roasted fish, like ahi, or on top of salads or vegetables, like asparagus, green beans, or fresh corn cut off the cob, all kinds of things.

Procedure:
To make Crispy Fried Shallots, thinly slice 6 large shallots with a sharp knife; place in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag. Add 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour. Close bag and shake until shallots are well-coated with flour. 

In a small saucepan, heat 1 cup canola oil over medium heat until hot. Drop shallots, a few at a time, into hot oil and fry until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined baking pan. Season to taste. Makes 2 servings.


Roasted Beet Salad with Bacon and Shallots
I have always been a big roasted beet lover. This salad combines many wonderful flavors and is highly recommended.

Ingredients:
4 slices of bacon
1 1/2 pounds beets
8 shallots, peeled and halved
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
6 cups trimmed beet tops

Procedure:
Preheat oven to 425°.

Fry the bacon until crisp and set aside to cool.

Trim beets, reserving greens. Wrap beets in foil. Place beets and shallots on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Coat shallots with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 25 minutes or until shallots are lightly browned. Remove shallots from pan. Return beets to oven; bake an additional 35 minutes or until beets are tender. Cool. Peel beets; cut into 1/2-inch wedges. Place beets, shallots, vinegar, 1 teaspoon oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl; toss well.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add reserved beet greens to pan; sauté 1 minute or until greens begin to wilt. Stir in sugar, cider vinegar, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove pan from heat. Place greens mixture on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle each serving with 3/4 cup beet mixture. Brake bacon into bits and sprinkle on top of each salad. Makes 4 servings.


Hot & Sour Lemongrass Prawns 
with Roasted Garlic
Ingredients:
2 heads garlic, yes heads!
6 shallots
3 stalks lemon grass
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on
1/4 cup canola oil
4-5 tablespoons Thai fish sauce, to taste
1-2 tablespoons light brown sugar, to taste
Juice of 2-3 limes, to taste
1/4 cup short cilantro sprigs for garnish

Procedure:
Break one of the heads of garlic into individual cloves. Cut the root tip off each clove, leaving the skin on. Do likewise with 3 of the shallots. Place them together on a tray and roast in a hot oven (450°F) until softened – about 10 minutes for garlic, 15-20 minutes for shallots. (Cutting the tip keeps the garlic and shallots from popping and splattering the oven.) Chop the other head of garlic and 3 shallots and set aside.

Trim off and discard the woody bottom tip of the lemon grass stalks. Remove one or two layers of the more fibrous outer leaves. Cut the remaining inner stalk into thin rounds, then chop coarsely. Set aside in a covered bowl to prevent drying out.

When the roasted garlic and shallots are ready, peel off their skin and mash them in a mortar and pestle together with the Sriracha sauce to form a well-blended paste. Set aside.

Heat a wok over high heat until it is smoking hot. Swirl in 3 tablespoons of oil to coat wok surface and wait 15-20 seconds for it to heat. Toss in the prawns and sear them in the hot wok for 1-2 minutes. When they have turned pink, remove from wok. Add another 2-3 tablespoons of oil and heat 15-20 seconds. Sauté the chopped garlic and shallots in it for 15-20 seconds before adding the Sriracha paste. Sauté a short while longer, then stir in the chopped lemon grass. Stir-fry another half to one minute.

When the mixture is well-blended and fragrant with the herbs, season to taste with fish sauce, light brown sugar and lime juice. Reduce liquid so that the mixture is thick and almost dry. Toss the prawns back in and stir-fry with the lemon grass mixture for 1-2 minutes, or until they are just cooked through. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish top with cilantro. Serve with Jasmine Rice Scented with Lemongrass, and Thai Cucumber Salad with Peanuts. Makes 8 servings.


Chicken Thighs with Shallots
Ingredients:
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoon soy sauce
4 large shallots, peeled and minced with a sharp knife
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 large chicken thighs
3 large garlic cloves, minced
one generous handful of coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

In a large baking dish, mix the olive oil, vinegar, soy sauce, shallots, and salt and pepper, to taste.
Toss the chicken thighs in the mixture, so they’re completely coated with the shallots. Turn the chicken pieces so they are all skin side up.

Roast the chicken for about 20 minutes, until it starts to brown on top. Turn the chicken over. Scrape any juices and shallots over the chicken that may be clinging to the pan, sprinkle with minced garlic, and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the pieces of chicken are cooked through and the shallots are well-caramelized.

Remove from oven and toss in the chopped parsley. Serve with Scalloped Potatoes with Cheese, and Snow Peas & Tomatoes. Makes 6 servings.


Roasted Mushroom-Shallot-Sesame Salad
This is a wonderful salad, served warm with mixed greens. Great with poultry or pork, or by itself with a slice of warm crusty bread.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 tablespoons Asian sesame oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 1/4 pounds mixed mushrooms—such as white, cremini or shiitake
Salt to taste
10 shallots, peeled and cut in half lengthwise
1 cup mixed baby salad greens or small spinach leaves
1 tablespoon roasted black sesame seeds

Procedure:
Preheat the oven to 400°. In a bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil with the garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Add the mushrooms and toss to coat. Spread the mixture out the on a baking sheet and season with a little salt. Roast the mushrooms for about 30 minutes, until tender and glazed.

Meanwhile, on a second large rimmed baking sheet, drizzle the shallots with the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of sesame oil; toss to coat. Season with salt and roast for about 25 minutes, turning once, until golden brown and tender.

Scrape the roasted mushrooms and shallots into a serving bowl. Add the salad greens and sesame seeds and toss to coat. Serve immediately while warm. Makes 4 to 6 servings.


Asparagus-Shallot Stir-fry with Bacon
Ingredients:
1/4 cup black vinegar
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
2 small shallots, thinly sliced into rings with a sharp knife
4 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1x1/4-inch pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus more for frying (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup fine-grind cornmeal
Kosher salt
1 pound asparagus, trimmed, thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 tablespoon white soy sauce

Procedure:
Combine both vinegars in a medium bowl. Add shallots and let sit, tossing occasionally, 1 hour. Drain and pat dry.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until most of fat is rendered and bacon begins to brown, 5–7 minutes. Transfer to paper towels. Pour off fat; reserve for another use (scrambled eggs!). Wipe out skillet; reserve.

Fit a medium pot with thermometer and pour in oil to come 2" up sides of pot. Heat over medium-high until thermometer registers 300°. Whisk flour and cornmeal in a shallow bowl. Dredge shallots in flour mixture, shaking off excess. Fry, tossing occasionally, until golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; season with salt.

Heat reserved skillet over medium-high. Swirl remaining 1 Tbsp. oil in pan to coat (this keeps food from sticking); pour out excess. The oil should be shimmering—if it’s not hot enough, the asparagus will steam not caramelize. Add asparagus, season with salt, and cook, tossing, until almost cooked through, about 1 minute. Add bacon and 1 Tbsp. water; cook, tossing, until asparagus is cooked through, about 30 seconds. Add soy sauce; toss to coat. Serve topped with shallots. Makes 4 servings.


Sautéed Long Beans with Shallots
The traditional string beans used in this recipe are the French 'Haricots Verts'. They are thin, very young green beans. Unfortunately here on the Hawaiian Island of Molokai, they are not available, so I use very thin Chinese long beans. In flavor, Chinese long beans are very similar to the common backyard green bean. I find that they hold up better to cooking, staying crisper and more firm even after being simmered in water or broth. The beans are usually available at our Saturday morning farmer's market here on Molokai.

Ingredients:
1 pound Chinese long beans, ends trimmed, leave whole or cut into bite-sized pieces.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Procedure:
Bring 1 1⁄2 cups water to a boil in a wok or large skillet. Add the long beans and cook, over high heat for 5 minutes, until they are tender but still firm to the bite. Drain the beans and spread them on a large platter to cool.

At serving time, heat the butter and oil in a large skillet. When they are hot, add the shallots, garlic, ginger and crushed red pepper and saute for about 30 seconds. Add the beans, salt and pepper and saute for about 2 or 3 minutes, until the beans are heated through. Transfer the beans to a platter and serve with roast chicken, turkey, or beef, or in a shrimp stir-fry. Makes 4 servings.


Grape Chutney
A beautiful chutney to serve with roast pork, chicken or turkey.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced shallots
2 cups halved seedless purple or red grapes
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar or rice vinegar
1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt

Procedure:
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add grapes, sherry, vinegar, mustard seeds and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the grapes have broken down, 10 to 20 minutes. Makes 1 1/4 cups.


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