The Shallots of Rome

shallotsThe shallot (Allium ascalonicum) was once considered sacred. Said to have been discovered by Marcus Aurelius in ancient Cannan (now Palestine) in the second century AD, shallots were widely grown in Greek and Roman gardens. Italian cooks today use shallots to create a strong but subtle flavor reminiscent of both onions and garlic.  I know a lot of you like Veal Marsala, a classic Italian-American dish that makes use of finely chopped shallots and sweet Marsala wine but if you’re ready to step out of your comfort zone try preparing shallots with a recipe from Mario Batali (Roasted Shallots in a Vinegar-Thyme Bath) or a Shallot, Gorgonzola and Rocket Risotto. If you favor the sweet sour palate of the Venetians, here is a shallot saor (a traditional agrodolce method used by Venetian sailors to preserve food when out at sea) with a twist.

Every once in a while it’s a good idea to re-interpret a traditional skill set of  ingredients in new and different ways.