What is a Shallot?


You must have heard of shallots a couple of time already without knowing what it is exactly.  It is almost always present in dishes just like garlic is.

But what is it really?  Is it just another word for onion or is it altogether different?

Some people, Australians particularly, call green onions shallots.  But the thing is shallot is considered only a member of the onion family but is not an onion.

Although both shallots and onions can bring tears to your eyes, shallots are generally smaller than onions, cooks faster and do not have storage life as long as that of its relative.

Instead, it looks more similar to garlic in appearance because it is sectioned into cloves inside.  However, it only has about two to three segments a piece.

Shallots are often used in French cooking and come in different colors – purple, rose, white, gray, copper, yellow, gold and pink-hued flesh.

The gray cultivar is what is often used in France and in other countries such as Thailand and Vietnam but is seldom found in North America.   Other varieties like the red-copper and purple shallots are common in Belgium and the Netherlands.

Shallots also have a milder taste compared to onions and can be eaten raw.  They can also be pickled; its leaves used the way we do spring onions.

Some varieties of shallots include Altlantic, Grise de Bagnolet, Hative de Niort, Pikant, Topper and Golden Gourmet.