Shallots are often thought to be another variety of onion, but they are actually a species of their own. They grow in clusters, where separate bulbs are attached at the base and by loose skins. The shallot has a tapered shape and a fine-textured, coppery skin, which differentiates it from onions.
Shallots were first introduced to Europeans during the 12th Century. Crusaders brought them home as â€œvaluable treasureâ€ from the ancient Palestinian city of Ascalon.Â TheÂ word ‘shallot’ derives from this very city in ancient Canaan.Â
Shallots are extensively cultivated and used for cooking, as well as being excellent when pickled.Â Finely sliced deep-fried shallots are commonly used as a condiment in Asian cuisine.Â They tend to be more expensive that their cousin garlic, in the US they are almost exclusively imported from France.
Stay tuned for my all-time favorite, Sensual Shallot Bruschetta recipe.