Monday, February 2, 2009

Veggie of the Week-Shallots

Shallots belong to the lily family. There are more than 500 different types. In addition to shallots, onions, garlic and leeks also belong to the Allium genus. Generally, shallots produce a reddish brown bulb that adds flavour to many dishes. Sautéed or cooked shallots have a sweeter taste than onions. There are many shallot-based products such as shallot pulp, frozen shallots (or chopped shallots) and peeled shallots.

The most important areas of production in the Western world are: France, the Netherlands, the United States of America and Great Britain. Other production areas can be found in South-East Asia. Ten thousand hectares of shallots are cultivated in China, Indonesia, Thailand and the neighbouring countries.

Handy to know:
● A halved shallot can help to relieve cold or flu symptoms.
● Shallots contain substances that can help prevent cancer.
● Slice shallots just before use to preserve their sweet taste.
● Shallots are an important ingredient in Worcestershire Sauce. This sauce is mainly used as flavouring in meat dishes and marinades.
● One shallot contains twice as much vitamin C as an onion.
● In recipes, substitute an onion for a shallot. You will notice the difference in taste, more pronounced and sweeter.
●Put a peeled shallot in the water to rinse your windows for a steak-free and shiny result!

The benefits of eating shallots:
Shallots are rich in vitamin A, B, C and E. Shallots contain few calories: 50-60 calories per 100 g. Regular consumption of shallots will reduce cholesterol levels and improve the blood circulation. The very high concentration of flavonoids reduces the risk of cardio-vascular diseases.

Where can I buy shallots?
Shallots can be bought at most supermarkets and greengrocers. In the supermarket, shallots are in the fruit and vegetable section close to garlic or onions. Shallots are packed per 10 to 12 bulbs in a net or bag. Shallots can also be bought loose.

What is important when buying shallots?
The first rule is that a firm shallot is fresh. You can tell an old shallot by a yellowy-white or green shoot growing from the head. Avoid packaging containing any rotten shallots.
Picture and Info provided by

Steak Da Vinci
1 1/4 lbs boneless beef round steak, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup diced shallot
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1 teaspoon beef bouillon granules
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
8 ounces linguine, cooked, warm
1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1.) Spray large skillet with cooking spray: heat over medium heat until hot.
2.) Saute beef, onion, bell peppers, garlic, and shallots until meat is browned and onion tender, about 10 minute.
3.) Add remaining ingredients, except salt and pepper, linguine, parsley and Parmesan cheese, and simmer, covered, until meat is tender, 45 to 60 minutes.
4.) Simmer, uncovered until thickened to desired consistency, about 15 minutes.
5.) Season to taste with the salt and pepper.
6.) Serve over linguine: sprinkle with parsley and Parmesan cheese.

No comments: