Garlic and Shallots Information and Tips
Cipollini onions (pronounced chip-oh-lee-knee) – Their name literally means “little onion” in Italian, and indeed they are! Cipollinis are about the size of a golf ball with a slightly flattened appearance. They’re thin-skinned and have translucent white flesh with more residual sugar than your average yellow or white onion. It is a great onion for roasting and caramelizing. Roasted whole in the oven or cooked in a little butter on the stove top, cipollinis become soft and practically melt in your mouth. Those residual sugars caramelize and concentrate, leaving behind none of the astringent raw onion flavor. The only downside to cipollinis is getting that thin skin off. Use a paring knife to pull off strips from root to stem. You can also boil the onions for a few seconds to loosen the skin.
Green Garlic is immature garlic and looks like a slightly overgrown scallion or green onion. To use, trim off root ends and any tough part of the green leaves. Chop or slice white, light green, and the first few inches of the dark green leaves. Use as you would green onions or garlic. It is stronger than green onions but milder than garlic.
Here are some great tips on how to use green garlic: 5 Things to Do with Green Garlic
Leeks-With a more delicate and sweeter flavor than onions, leeks add a subtle touch to recipes without overpowering the other flavors that are present. Leeks are most commonly used in soup like vichyssoise, a soup composed of potatoes and leeks and served cold. If you have a favorite potato soup recipe, try adding some sliced leeks next time you prepare it. Leeks are also edible raw and can impart a great crunchy flavor to salads or eaten with a dip.
Shallots are similar to onions and garlic, but their flavor is richer, sweeter, yet more potent. Like garlic, they grow in clusters, with several bulbs attached at the base. You’ll recognize them by their coppery skins and their off-white flesh, which is usually tinged with magenta. Shallots add a great depth of flavor to pan sautés, soups, sauces, and stews, and pair especially well with chicken and fish. To substitute one for the other in recipes, use half the amount of shallot that you would onion. Green Shallots-A companion to green onions and green garlic, green shallots are a mild vegetable, harvested while the greens are still edible and before the bulbs are mature. They can be used anywhere you would use green onion for a milder flavor.
The Torpedo onion is a tightly layered papery skin that is blushed red violet in color. The bulbs are elongated and resemble a petite football or essentially a torpedo, hence their given name. Once peeled or cut they reveal multiple sets of translucent purple and white colored rings that give it the appearance of a shallot or leek more than an onion. Torpedo onions have a warm, sweet flavor and tender flesh. They are sweet enough that they can be eaten raw. Cooking brings out their natural sweetness best. A slow sautée to caramelize the onion creates a rich flavor that can allow it to enhance marinades or dressings.