Sunday, March 15, 2009
The Lady of Shallot
All my life I have been reading in cookbooks about shallots. They are supposed to be the Leonard Pennario of onions. They are the deepest and the sweetest and the subtlest and the best.
So the other day, I am at Budwey's and what do I buy but shallots! They came in a package of about five of them for a buck and a half. I decided, I am finally going to find out what the big deal is. Here is a picture of my shallots.
So what did I do with these shallots? I can hardly even remember now. I put one of them into a pasta dish with mushrooms that called for a shallot. I wanted a recipe that called specifically for shallots. I do not want to waste these on a recipe where I could just as easily use yellow onions.
I put another shallot into a chicken recipe from Martha Stewart Everyday Food.
Howard ate both dishes without comment. That is not unusual but you would think that with shallots in them, things would be different. Alas they were not.
I have to say I did not particularly notice the shallots either.
What a disappointment! This is like saffron. Everyone says that saffron is the Leonard Pennario of spices. It is the deepest and the subtlest and the best. Here is a picture of saffron looking valuable and treasured.
But I have shelled out for saffron and again I do not see the big deal. I like turmeric better. I hate to think what that says about me but there it is. You get that gold color and also a nice kind of mustard-y taste.
Back to my shallots. I have three left. This is my chance to make a splash. What shall I make? What will do justice to the buck and a half I shelled out?
I ask you.
Speaking of questions, as you ponder this one, take the Leonard Pennario Quiz. It is a kick! They have stuff in it about Buffalo and everything.
I found it on the Internet and I could not believe it. As a matter of fact I could not answer the first question! Ha, ha! I laughed about that today on my Music Critic blog which if you want to read it, it is here.
What I cannot get over is someone wrote a Leonard Pennario Quiz and it was not me! I will be reduced to writing a quiz about shallots.
Speaking of which, the Lady of Shallot is not to be confused with the Lady of Shalot, pictured at the top of the post in a painting by J.W. Waterhouse. Here is another picture of the Lady of Shalot, by John Atkinson Grimshaw. This is after she has cooked with shallots and her husband has said nothing and she cannot tell the difference either.
Another Lady of Shalot shot, this again by Waterhouse.
"I am half-sick of shallots, said the Lady of Shalot." That is a line from the poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
Did I say shallots? I meant shadows.
Too much time in the kitchen will do this to you.
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Well at least I'll know what a shallot is now. I had heard of them before but had no idea what they were.
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