< Vegetables



Allium ascalonicum

A perennial bulb mentioned in the Bible (its name derives from the ancient city of Askalon) this mild-flavored member of the onion family was believed to have come into Europe in the saddlebags of the crusaders. It enjoyed favor by kitchen gardeners for whom refined flavors mattered. Less pronounced in taste than the onion, less pungently aromatic than the garlic, less dirty than the leek, the shallot, minced fine, graced the salads and adorned the pan-fried chops of the United States throughout the 19th century.

Propagated by division, the shallot bulb is divided into its cloves and each clove it planted, constituting the basis of a new plant. Millennia of cultivation by the offset method has influenced certain strains of shallot to not produce flowers and seeds. Traditionally planted in late winter or mid-autumn (depending on local conditions), it was grown like other onions. The onion-fly was its chief threat, consequently farmers tended to cover the bulbs with a shallow layer of earth so that a quick scrape of the hoe could detect whether maggots attacked the bulb. Some mixed soot with the soil to discourage infestation. Shallots ripened toward the end of July and normally came to harvest in August. They were cleaned of dirt, set in an airy space to dry, then braided into ropes to hang on kitchen pegs.

In cookery the shallot became a fixture in sauces and soups. A shallot-butter sauce (or gravy) was deemed the ideal accompaniment for beef-steaks Mixed with breadcrumbs and chopped parsley the shallot contributed essentially to gratins. Steeped in vinegar or wine, the shallot-infused liquids became favored flavoring agents of professional cooks.

Common Or Small Shallot    History

Bulbs about three-fourths of an inch in diameter at the base, elongated, and enclosed in a reddish-yellow skin, or pellicle; leaves small, ten or twelve inches high. This variety is early, keeps well, and is one of the best for cultivation.

Jersey    History

Bulbs of large size, measuring two inches in length, and rather more than an inch in diameter at the base; grouped like the other varieties, and enclosed in a light-brown pellicle, as fine in texture as the skin of an onion, which this Shallot much resembles in form and odor. Compared with the Common Shallot, it is more round, the neck is smaller, and it is also more close or compact. Leaves remarkably glaucous, not tall, but of good substance, — quite distinct in these respects from the Small or the Large sort. It also sometimes produces seeds; which is, perhaps, a recommendation, as these, when sown, frequently produce new varieties. It is one of the earliest of all the sorts; but is comparatively tender, and decays early

Large Alencon    History

Bulb very large, exceeding in size that of the Jersey Shallot ; which variety it much resembles in form and color, and in being tender, decaying early, and sometimes running to seed. It is, however, not quite so early; and the leaves «re longer and more glallcous. Flavor mild and pleasant. At the time of harvesting, the bulbs should be long exposed to the sun, in order that they may be thoroughly dried before packing away. The bulbs are slow in forming, and the worst keepers, as, when stored, they soon begin to sprout. This variety, and also the Jersey Shallot, closely resemble the Onion. It is possible they may constitute a distinct species.

Large Shallot    History

Bulbs about two inches in diameter at the base, elongated, and enclosed in a brownish-yellow skin, or pellicle; leaves fifteen to eighteen inches high.This variety, in size, much exceeds that of the Common or Small Shallot; and, though later in ripening, is nevertheless the first to be found in the market, as it forms its bulbs early in the season. Its keeping properties are inferior to the last named.

Long Keeping    History

This resembles the Common Shallot; but is considered superior to that variety in its keeping properties, and in being less subject to the attack of the maggot. It is said that the variety may be kept two years.

Shallot Sauce 1 (Cook's Own Book 1832)    History

Boil a few minced shallots in a little clear gravy and nearly as much vinegar, add a few peppercorns and a little salt. Strain, and serve tt in a sauce tureen. P 191

Shallot Sauce 2 (Cook's Own Book 1832)    History

Take two spoonfuls of the liquor the meat was boiled in, two spoonfuls of vinegar, two or three shallots cut fine, and a little salt; put these ingredients into a saucepan, with a bit of butter rolled in flour; let it stew a little, and serve it up with your mutton or beef. p 191

Shallot Sauce (The Franco-American Cookery Book 1884)    History

Chop fine and put four shallots in a saucepan with an ounce of butter, mignonette pepper, and a glass of white wine; boil three minutes ; finish with half a pint of slightly thickened and wellreduced gravy, lemon-juice, chopped parsley, and an ounce of butter. Felix J. Deliee, The Franco-American Cookery Book (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons 1884) p. 192

Sauce Tartare. (The Table 1889)    History

Chop up one shallot exceedingly fine, with half a tablespoonful of chervil, and the same of tarragon, and twelve capers chopped exceedingly fine. Place these in an earthen bowl with half a teaspoonful of ground English mustard, two raw egg yolks, a teaspoonful of vinegar (a small drop at a time), half a pinch of salt, and a third of a pinch of pepper. Pour in very lightly, while continuing to stir, a cupful of good olive oil, and if too thick, add a little more vinegar. Taste it to find whether the seasoning is correct; if too salt, add a little more mustard and oil. Alexander Filipinni, The Table: How to Buy Food, How to Cook It and How to Serve It (New York: Charles L. Webster, 1889), p. 179.

Remoulade Sauce (The Table 1889)    History

Chop up very fine twelve capers, one shallot, three small vinegar-pickles, and add one-half a tablespoonful of chives, with one tablespoonful of parsley. Place them in a bowl with a whole raw egg, a teaspoonful of ground English mustard, half a pinch of salt, and half a pinch of pepper. Incorporate well together, adding four tablespoonfuls of oil and four of vinegar, but keep the sauce sufficiently liquid. Serve when required. Alexander Filipinni, The Table: How to Buy Food, How to Cook It and How to Serve It (New York: Charles L. Webster, 1889), p. 179.

Shallot Vinegar (American Domestic Cookery 1823)    History

Split six or eight shallot; put them into a quart, bottle, and till it up with vinegar; stop it, and in a month it will be fit for use. An Experienced Housekeeper, American Domestic Cookery (New York: Duyckinck, 1823), p. 143.