Spring-time shallots

Posted on: 20 February 2013 by Gareth Hargreaves

As spring approaches, enjoy the simple things in life with three delicious shallot dishes.

Spring shallot recipesThe sun makes everyone feel mellow, relaxed and carefree, ready to do nothing but eat, relax and enjoy quality time with family and friends. What better way to celebrate than to assemble some delicious foods and throw together an al fresco feast?

Spring eating should be about making foods that are simple to prepare with the emphasis firmly on freshness and flavour.

Shallots make a wonderful contribution to outdoor dining - enlivening salads, transforming quiches and making barbecues that bit more special. Whole shallots are ideal for barbecues – thread the shallots on to skewers alternating with pieces of marinated lamb and barbecue over hot coals.

For a classic salad dressing, put a chopped shallot in a screw top jar, add a pinch of salt, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard, a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, three tablespoons of olive oil and a twist of black pepper. Put the lid on tightly and shake and voila, a flavoursome dressing to pour over your favourite salad.

Try tossing chopped shallots together with lightly steamed French beans, flaked tuna, halved cherry tomatoes and a light, lemon dressing for a delicious and healthy salad.

If this is making you hungry for more ideas, the following dishes are sure to tick all the boxes for fresh, simple to prepare, colourful and tasty dishes for any of this summer’s picnics, barbecues or al fresco lunches or evening meals.

 

Roasted shallotbeetroot and spinach salad with goats cheese

Roasted shallot, beetroot, puy lentil & spinach salad with soft goats cheese

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking time: up to 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 12 shallots, peeled (If large, cut in half)
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 250g of cooked baby beetroot
  • 1tbsp runny honey
  • 400g tin of puy lentils, rinsed and drained or 225g ready cooked
  • 150g baby spinach leaves washed and well drained
  • 200g soft goat’s cheese
  • 1 tsp chopped flat leaf parsley

For the dressing:

  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of chopped chives (optional)
  • 5 tbsp rape seed oil
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp cider vinegar
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 190°c gas mark 5 or 375°f
  2. Put the shallots into a roasting tin, drizzle with the 2 tbsp of rape seed oil, toss well and season with sea salt and black pepper.
  3. Place roasting tin in the oven for 15 minutes, then add the beetroot and drizzle with honey and toss well with the shallots. Roast for a further 10 minutes, or until the shallots are soft.
  4. Meanwhile, drain the lentils and rinse under water and place in a bowl.
  5. To make the dressing, mix all of the dressing ingredients together and season with sea salt and black pepper.
  6. When ready remove the shallots and beetroot from the oven and mix with the lentils and half the dressing while still warm and leave to cool.
  7. To serve, place the spinach leaves onto 4 plates, top with the shallots, beetroot and lentils, crumble over the goat’s cheese, drizzle with the remaining dressing and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Then serve with crusty bread.

 


Spiced roasted shallots and bulgur wheat salad

Spiced roasted shallot salad with Bulgur wheat, aubergine, raisins & a chilli & tomato dressing

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 10-15 minutes

Cooking time: 50 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 12 shallots, peeled
  • 3 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • 1 large aubergine cut into 5cm chunks
  • 200g Bulgur wheat rinsed in cold water
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • 500ml water
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • A good pinch of ground ginger
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red chilli, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 large vine tomato seeded and finely chopped
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley chopped
  • A handful of coriander chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon

For the tomato dressing:

  • 2 vine tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
  • ½ red chilli, seeded and finely diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cm of peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 10 tbsp rapeseed oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°c gas mark 6 400°f
  2. Place the shallots in roasting tin and drizzle with 1 tbsp of the rape seed oil season well. Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
  3. Then add the aubergine to the shallots and drizzle with 2 tbsp of oil and return to the oven stirring occasionally and roast for a further 15 minutes or until the aubergine and shallots are tender.
  4. Meanwhile prepare the Bulgur wheat, place it with and raisins in a saucepan, add the water, cumin, coriander, and ginger season with sea salt and black pepper. Bring to the boil, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook very gently for 10 minutes or until the water has absorbed.
  5. Remove from the heat and place in a mixing bowl, cool slightly and add all of the remaining ingredients. Take the shallot and aubergine out of the oven and add when cooled slightly to the salad.
  6. For the dressing place all the ingredients except for the oil in to a food processor and blitz to form a smooth puree, then add the oil slowly to the puree till blended
  7. Serve with the salad.

This salad works well with barbequed meat chicken and fish.

Lamb shallot citrus kebabs

Oriental lamb, shallot & citrus kebabs with soy & honey dipping sauce

Serves: 4

You will need 8 large wooden kebab sticks soaked in hot water to prevent them from burning in the cooking process.

Lamb kebabs:

  • 450g leg of lamb cut into 3cm dice
  • 24 medium shallots peeled
  • 8 bayleaves
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil for cooking

Marinade:

  • 2 large oranges, rind grated and then juiced
  • 1 lime, rind grated and then juiced
  • 2tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 2tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 8 whole star anise
  • 2 garlic cloves peeled and crushed into a paste
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Dipping sauce to serve:

  • 1 red chilli diced finely without the seeds
  • A handful of coriander finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp of runny honey
  • 1tbsp of dark soy sauce
  • 1tbsp of light soy sauce
  • A dash of sesame seed oil
  • The juice of two limes

Method

  1. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade stirring well. 
  2. Thread a bay leaf onto the first skewer and then alternate the shallots and the lamb onto the wooden skewer and repeat with all skewers.  Lay the kebabs in a shallow dish and then pour over the marinade and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours, if possible overnight, in a fridge.
  3. Heat a heavy based grill pan or a frying pan, drizzle with the oil, heat well then place the kebabs in the pan and fry on medium heat for 3 - 4 minutes on each side brushing the kebabs with remaining marinade throughout the cooking process.  Take care not to have the heat too high or you will burn the marinade.
  4. Meanwhile for the dipping sauce mix all the ingredients together.
  5. Serve with a green salad, basmati rice and little pots of the dipping sauce.

Tips

These kebabs can also be cooked on a barbeque and the lamb can be replaced with chicken beef or pork. For a vegetarian alternative you could use sweet potatoes, courgettes and peppers with the shallots.

For more great recipes and tips on how to prepare shallots, visit www.UKShallot.com 

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