Stylish notes from the Kitchen :: The Graceful Shallot

image via Smitten Kitchen

In my humble opinion the shallot is the darling of the bulb family. She is under-appreciated and under-utilized. And I'm here to try and change that. I adore shallots and I think you will too. She's almost a cross between an onion and garlic. The shallot, though closely related to the onion grows in bunches like garlic - she's almost a twixt of the two. When sliced you can see that there are layers like an onion, but each shallot has two to 4 bulbs, like garlic. A shallot has a delicate, distinctive flavor taste that is milder yet deeper than that of an onion's with garlic undertones. Her flavors mellow when cooked. Try substituting these complex little bulbs for onions in your next recipe - why not start with your Thanksgiving (or Christmas) side dishes?

Mashed Potatoes with Sauteed Shallots

via The Entertaining House

I prefer to use red potatoes and I always leave my skins on, but you are welcome to use any potato you prefer and to peel the skin.

3-4 lbs of red potatoes, washed, skins on
1 large shallot, thinly sliced
2 tbs butter
4 tbs olive oil (eyeballed)
1/2 - 1 cup of lowfat milk
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

The lowfat milk and the olive oil makes this version a bit healthier than those versions calling for massive amounts of cream and butter. Trust me, you won't miss either in this version! 

Add potatoes to boiling water and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan, add a tablespoon or two of olive oil and bring to medium high heat, toss in shallots bring heat down to medium, until they've caramelized to a golden brown, then remove from heat. When potatoes are done remove from heat and drain. In the pan, start mashing them with a potato masher. Add the remaining 2 tbs of olive oil, butter and shallots, working them well into the potato mixture. Slowly add milk and continue mashing. Add more milk until you achieve your desired consistency. Add sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. 

This dish can be made a day ahead of time. Reheat either via microwave or stove-top. Sometimes potatoes thicken over night. If desired, add 1/4 cup of low fat milk. Stir well, heat and serve!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Shallots and Crispy Onion Bits

via The Entertaining House

We all love brussel sprouts here at The Entertaining House. This is one of our favorite recipes. I use sliced brussel sprouts for this recipe. If you can't find them sliced you can certainly slice them on your own. But for the sake of the holidays and spending less time in the kitchen and more time with friends and family, I'm going to suggest you get the sliced ones if you can find them. 

Serves 6-8
3 packages sliced brussels sprouts (2 packages if not sliced)
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 cup crispy onion pieces. If possible get a fresh variety.
2+ tbs olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

In a large saute pan heat up the olive oil, toss in the shallots and cook until they are golden brown and caramelized. Remove from pan. If possible, leave the oil infused with the shallots in the pan. When the shallots have been removed toss in the brussels sprouts and coat all with the oil. If needed drizzle a little more oil into the pan. Cook over low to medium heat for about 15 minutes until they start to caramelize, when they do, add the shallots and mix well. Keep warm over low heat until ready to serve. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Just before serving add the onion pieces. 

These too can be made a day ahead of schedule and can be reheated via microwave or stove-top. Do not add the crispy onions until you are ready to serve.

Shallots are wonderful with asparagus and green beans and they can be substituted for onions in any dish.