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  #1  
Old 05-19-2009, 08:41 PM
chique chique is offline
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Question about shallots.

And just so we're clear, I'm talking about these things.

Grocery stores around here sell two versions. The first is a small mesh bag containing six or eight pearl-onion-sized shallots; the second is a small mesh bag containing one or two plum(ish)-sized shallots.

If a recipe calls for "One shallot, finely minced", is it talking about the little 'uns or the big 'uns?

I've always bought and used the larger version. I'm just wondering how many recipes I've "ruined" doing that.
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2009, 09:05 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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You haven't ruined any recipes.

The truth is, shallots come in a variety of sizes/shapes, as do a lot of other veggies. Cooking is not an exact science, therefore, when a recipe says "one shallot" or "one onion" or "one bell pepper", it's up to the cook to decide how much he/she wants to put in.

You won't ruin a recipe by putting in too much or too little shallot. You might eventually find that you like a certain amount. But really, I wouldn't worry too much about it, just use whatever's handy.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:15 PM
chique chique is offline
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There's a reason I put the "" around ruined.

I like shallots and point and laugh at the fools who substitute onions "because they're the same thing", and I think I cook as you do and treat the given amounts of certain ingredients as mere suggestions. I'm just wondering if there's a traditional- or standard-sized shallot.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:36 PM
Athena Athena is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chique View Post
I'm just wondering if there's a traditional- or standard-sized shallot.
Hmm if there is, I'm not aware of it. I wonder if I have anything that might say....

Heh, I should have figured - "Cook's Illustrated" has guidelines on it. Here's what they say:

Quote:
When a recipe calls for one shallot, what, exactly, is called for: one entire shallot or one section, or clove, from one shallot? We found little consensus about this question in the cookbooks we checked. Even in the test kitchen, different cooks held different opinions. After some debate, we agreed that the following argument made the most sense.

A shallot may consist of one, two, three, or even four irregularly sized cloves, unlike a head of garlic, whose cloves are many and fairly regular in size. In contrast, most shallots (whether they have one clove or four) are approximately the same size. For this reason, it’s more accurate to write recipes that use an entire shallot, not a single clove, as the equivalent of “one shallot.” Of course, for maximum accuracy, it’s best to measure the shallot when minced. In the test kitchen, we consider one medium shallot to equal 3 tablespoons minced.
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Old 05-19-2009, 09:52 PM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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I just made a recipe (Thai beef salad-hot!) that called for ½ cup shallots, thinly sliced. That was easy! (I used a ½-cup sized shallot for the occasion)
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  #6  
Old 05-20-2009, 08:15 AM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze View Post
I just made a recipe (Thai beef salad-hot!)

Give!








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Old 05-20-2009, 08:20 AM
Ephemera Ephemera is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chique View Post
I like shallots and point and laugh at the fools who substitute onions "because they're the same thing", and I think I cook as you do and treat the given amounts of certain ingredients as mere suggestions. I'm just wondering if there's a traditional- or standard-sized shallot.
If I actually cooked, I'd be one of those being mocked. Can you explain the difference?
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Old 05-20-2009, 08:21 AM
faithfool faithfool is online now
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Ditto what Aesiron said. I always thought they were basically the same thing.
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  #9  
Old 05-20-2009, 08:39 AM
Athena Athena is offline
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A shallot is much smaller - a large shallot is maybe 1/3 the size of a small onion - and, more importantly, the taste is different. They are milder & sweeter than onions, so you can get away with not cooking it as long (or even eating it raw. I chop them fine and put them in vinegarette sometimes, for example.)

Some people say they're a bit garlicky. I'm not sure I agree with that or not.

Basically, in a pinch, you could substitute onion for shallot in a cooked recipe. I wouldn't do it if the recipe called for raw shallot, though.
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Old 05-20-2009, 09:04 AM
BrandonR BrandonR is offline
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I've always heard shallots as something between an onion and garlic. Neither has the same exact taste as a shallot, and I would agree from my experiences.

If you're looking for a recipe that is amazing and really showcases shallots, try this one. I've never been able to screw it up and the chicken comes out fall-apart tender, the garlic and shallots come out soft and wonderful for mixing into mashed potatoes, and the oil turns garlicky and perfect for a dipping oil for bread. And you only need one pan (a cast iron dutch oven is preferable)!

Last edited by BrandonR; 05-20-2009 at 09:04 AM..
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  #11  
Old 05-20-2009, 10:10 AM
Claire Beauchamp Claire Beauchamp is offline
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In addition to tasting different than onions, shallots have a different texture. They are often used in cooked dishes such as sauces where you want the "onion" to not be prominent visually/in the mouth. Finely minced shallot will break down to the point that they essentially disappear after significant cooking.

I took a cooking class recently where the same question came up ... "What constitutes '1 shallot?'" She said 1 Tablespoon. So ... I would use 1 to 3 as a guide, and use your own judgment within that range depending on the dish.
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  #12  
Old 11-22-2012, 07:30 PM
timgil timgil is offline
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Chefs measurements

It is always better to measure by weight over volume (cups, teaspoon, etc)

Go by this:
For shallots (chopped, sliced, whatever) but finished prepped product:

1/2 cup = 2 ounces

Scale up or down as needed.

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Old 11-22-2012, 09:01 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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Smaller shallots are usually milder than the large ones. I've had a large shallot make my eyes water when chopping it. They're great for perfuming oil and care should be used not to overcook them. They're a key ingredient in some risottos.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:30 PM
carnivorousplant carnivorousplant is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chefguy View Post
Smaller shallots are usually milder than the large ones. I've had a large shallot make my eyes water when chopping it. They're great for perfuming oil and care should be used not to overcook them. They're a key ingredient in some risottos.
I've never had my eyes water.
A key ingredient in my potato soup, taken from vischy swa, however one spells it.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:38 PM
ZipperJJ ZipperJJ is offline
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How funny - this exact question came up in my kitchen today (the kitchen I was cooking in) and while my mom and I just decided to use "this many" shallots, she told me to research it later and my answer was "I'll ask my friend Athena."

Spooky!
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  #16  
Old 11-23-2012, 12:16 AM
guizot guizot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonR View Post
I've always heard shallots as something between an onion and garlic. Neither has the same exact taste as a shallot, and I would agree from my experiences.
Yes, that's what they taste like. In general, Thai cooking will use shallots where others end to use onions--but it also will have garlic in addition to shallots.

I always buy the small ones, because then it's easier to get closer to the amount I want. As Athena says, the amounts in recipes are just a general idea, which you adjust to your personal taste over time.

I never count how many individual shallots when cooking. I just prepare them until I have the amount I want. That also goes for all the other "bulb-type" ingredients.
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  #17  
Old 11-23-2012, 07:30 AM
Athena Athena is offline
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*takes a bow and considers adding "Queen of Shallots" to her title*

Someday we'll live in a universe where a kitchen scale will be as essential to home cooking as volume-based measuring cups are, and all recipes will have measurements in grams, and these kinds of questions will not pop up because 500gr of Shallots is easy to understand.
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  #18  
Old 11-23-2012, 09:28 AM
Jadis Jadis is offline
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Zombie chique.
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