As much as we love onions, we reserve a special place in our hearts for their smaller relatives, shallots and spring onions. Shallots are like the cool exchange student who went to your high school for a semester — a little sweet, but also edgy and full of interesting flavor. Spring onions, not to be confused with scallions, arrive in — you guessed it! — the spring. They’ve got long, green stalks (you can cook with those, too), small bulbs and a sweeter, more delicate flavor than white or yellow onions. Get to know these members of the allium family with a few recipes from our archives.
Skirt Steak With Caramelized Shallots, above. Because when’s the last time you cooked steak at home? This recipe’s an easy one, even if you’re nervous about overcooking or otherwise ruining a fine cut of meat; that’s because you’re using skirt steak, which is long, flat, quick-cooking and full of flavor. Each portion is cut in two before cooking for around two minutes on each side (to a tender and pleasantly pink medium-rare). While those rest under some foil, you’ll cook lots of shallots in the leftover pan drippings, butter and thyme until everything is golden and delicious.
Cheddar, Pancetta and Spring Onion Scones. If you’re not much of a baker, scones make for a nice gateway. There’s no yeast here, just some baking powder and baking soda. You’ll also learn to work butter into flour until it’s pea-size (use your fingers, two knives or a pastry cutter, if you have one). These savory bites have some chew from pancetta, a salty kick from grated cheddar and a sweetness from the chopped spring onion. They’re hearty and fit for a crowd, so invite your friends over and bask in the glow of being impressive.
Farmers Market Frittata. In case you hadn’t noticed, we have a thing for frittatas and egg-heavy dishes. Here’s an oldie from our pal Dorie Greenspan — it uses whatever greens you might have (kale, spinach, chard, mustard, collards, arugula, etc.) plus a healthy dose of spring onions. Add tomato slices when they’re in season; use cherry tomatoes or skip them entirely when not.
Parsley and Butter Lettuce With Grapefruit-Shallot Dressing. Hey, look! A recipe for a salad without romaine lettuce! You could make this punchy dressing and serve it on nearly any green; here we call for tender bib or butterhead, but try it on spinach, arugula, or some thinly sliced and massaged kale.
Fried or Caramelized Shallots. Crispy, salty and way too easy to eat plain, these fried shallots should be liberally scattered over salad, soup, toast, chicken, fish, scrambled eggs or anywhere. (You can also caramelize them, but we prefer the crunch of fried.) A bonus: After you’re done frying, let the oil cool, then strain and store it in the refrigerator (in a glass jar) for several months. Use the flavored oil for roasting, sauteing or drizzling.
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