What's the Deal with Shallots?

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For a long time, shallots just confused us. They look like garlic but taste like sweet onions, and they're finicky to peel on top of everything else! Why would we want to cook with them?

Shallots have actually become our top choice for most preparations calling for raw onions. They are sweeter and more mild than either yellow or red onions, and have a pleasant crispness in salad dressings and grain salads.

We also think shallots are a great choice if you're trying to convince onion-haters to give alliums a try. They add just the right amount of subtle pungency to dishes without as much of that overpowering onion flavor that turns some people off. Also, gently cooked shallots become as sweet as candy and are a revelation to people who've never had them before!

Shallots are also quite handy for when we only want a few tablespoons of onion for our dish. Because shallots grow in cloves, it's easy to break off just what we need, and the other cloves will still keep for several weeks. Plus, the thin layers of a shallot mean that mincing is a piece of cake!

Here are a few of our favorite shallot recipes:

Chicken with Shallot-Apricot Sauce
Fennel, Orange, and Shallot Salad
Shallot Tarte Tatin
Lemon-Marinated Brussels Sprouts with Parsley and Shallots
Radishes Braised with Shallots and Vinegar

What are you favorite ways to use shallots?

Related: How to Mince Garlic

(Image: Faith Durand for the Kitchn)

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