Traverse City Record-Eagle

Feature Columnists

September 26, 2013

Intentional Minimalist: Shallots' subtle sweetness

Shallots are a member of the allium family and favored for their sweet subtle onion flavor and crisp texture when used raw. When peeled, shallot bulbs separate into cloves similar to garlic.

Michelle Ferrarese of Birch Point Farm in Traverse City is my go-to farmer who grows amazing heirloom varieties of shallots, onions and garlic.

“I love growing alliums, everything in the onion family. Shallots, however, hold a special place in my heart and garden,” Ferrarese said. “They are interchangeable with onions in recipes, yet more interesting in appearance and more nuanced in flavor. I have planted shallots both in the fall as sets and in the spring as transplants. Both methods work well, though I tend to favor transplants, as I seem unable to hold back enough seed shallots to plant each fall as people want to buy them at market.”

When at the farmers market, look for shallots that have a dry papery brown skin and that are free from soft spots or green sprouts growing from the top stem. Store shallots in a dry, cool, well ventilated area and use within two months.

Birch Point Farm is a working annual vegetable farm with laying hens and beehives. You can visit Michelle to learn more about alliums and Birch Point Farm at the Sarah Hardy Farmers Market in Traverse City on Saturday and Wednesday mornings. Be sure to ask Michelle for her Sherry Shallot Vinaigrette Dressing recipe.

Potato, Purslaneand Shallot Salad

Farm fresh local fingerling potatoes

Farm fresh local purslane

Farm fresh local lemon basil

Farm fresh local shallot

Farm fresh local steamed or hard boiled eggs

Homemade scallion infused olive oil

Local cherry honey mustard

Local wild leek vinegar

Ingredient Note: This recipe features local produce from Birch Point Farm, Murray’s, Spring Hollow Farm and locally produced products from Food for Thought. A wide variety of infused olive oils can be purchased at grocery stores, specialty food stores or if you are an adventurous home cook you can make your own. Regular olive oil may be substituted for the infused olive oil used in this recipe.

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