Did you know that Shallots belong in the onion family? Allium cepa var. Ascalonium, to be exact. They grow from a bulb (it is called the mother) in many clusters of different forms and shapes (they are the daughters!). Moreover, shallots and other aspects that make you cry when you cut them are called LACRIMATORS, Lac-ri-ma-tors. Perhaps you’ve dated one! The only difference is shallots tend to have a delicate and sweet flavor with a hint of sharpness, while onions bring more intense heat to the meal. It is a typical small bulb with copper, reddish, or even gray skin. You can use shallots in nearly any recipe that calls for onions; they have the same effect but just make sure you’re using the same volume when substituting shallots with onions. They should feel heavy for their size and firm with dry, papery skins. Try avoiding any shallots that are sprouted or have some soft spots. Shallot’s flavor can be described as a little bittersweet, with hints of garlic. Since it doesn’t have the same bite as onion, shallots are ideally used raw in a salad or dressing and won’t overpower more delicate dishes; they are made even milder and sweeter by cooking; shallots are a bit sweeter than regular onions, and their flavor is more subtle. You are free to season them in raw applications like salads or vinaigrettes-related dishes, where they add oniony flavor without too much punch. You can also add some to slow-roasted or braised dishes, where their sweetness can really enhance a dish without watering it down or making it taste a little onion-ly.
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