Shallots add a mild onion taste to recipes.
Shallots are separate from regular onions, as they belong to the species Allium Ascalonicum, while common onions belong to Allium cepa.
They are often used in recipes finely chopped and sautéed with butter or olive oil to build flavor in dishes without making the bold statement that an onion or garlic would. They are sweet to taste and have a smoother texture than onions but not as strong as leeks or as mild as garlic.
Shallots are cool-weather vegetables that grow from seeds or sets (small shallots). The best time to plant shallots is during the last frost of Spring, into Autumn. Plant shallot sets 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost in Spring. Sow shallot seeds indoors for 4 to 6 weeks before transplanting the seedlings to a garden after the last frost in Spring. It takes about 100 days for shallots to mature. Shallots can stay in the ground year after year, but for best results, lift the cluster of bulbs at the end of the growing season and replant smaller ones the next.
Shallots grow in clusters underground like garlic, with each bulb sheathed by a thin, copper-colored husk. Shallots are harvested like other vegetables in the Allium family by digging them up once the top of the vegetable crowns the dirt.
Shallots taste somewhat like an onion but with a milder smooth sweet taste with a hint of sharpness similar to garlic and without the tangy bite onions offer. Shallots form in clusters of offsets (virtually complete daughter plant naturally and asexually produced on the mother plant) with a head composed of multiple cloves like garlic.
In the culinary world, shallots replace onions in recipes where a more mild, smooth, and delicate taste is preferred.Don’t cook shallots until brown because the taste will turn bitter.