Spices play an important role in our cooking and dining experience, as they make our meals more delicious. Tons of spices are out there, and occasionally, you can find some spices that you have not been familiar with, such as shallots.
If you have bought some shallots to prepare your dinner based on your newly learned recipe, don’t freak out when you have no clues on how to cut shallots. We are going to reveal how to dice shallots with ease!
What Is A Shallot?
We assume that you have been familiar with onions already, to the point you even know how to tell if green onions are bad. Well, shallot (Allium ascalonicum) is a relative in the onion family, along with garlic and chives.
Compared to an onion, shallots are much smaller, which is why they are often sold in packages of 8-10 pieces since one shallot alone does not give any flavor.
If you ask, “What does a shallot look like?” shallots often have a papery purple skin with garlic-gloved-like shapes. Their flesh is somewhere between white and purple. Shallots also have a signature smell like onion but are much lighter.
Diced shallots are mainly used as seasoning ingredients. They are often smashed and minced to season hot protein dishes or add up spice to salad or vinaigrettes. Shallots smell and taste incredible when cooked with vegetables and meat, and they are easier to digest than onions, which leaves a perfect choice for anti-onion people.
How To Prepare Shallots Before Cutting?
Before cutting shallots to prepare them for your meal, there are some steps you should follow to make sure that you won’t turn your shallots into a mess:
- Remember to remove the shallots’ skin. Every shallot has a slight skin outside of its flesh, and it will be inconvenient when you cut the shallot without removing the skin beforehand. So, how to peel a shallot?
You can remove the skin by hand or use a knife to flick the skin out. The best way of peeling shallots is by slicing off the end stem first, then make your way to the rest of the skin.
However, you should not remove the root, as keeping the root will make the cutting process easier.
- If you purchase French shallots with brown skin, these shallots will be more difficult to remove. You cannot remove the skin with your bare hands or use a knife because the skin sticks in this kind of shallot.
Instead, soak French shallots in warm water for 30 minutes beforehand to peel the skin. Water will make the skin naturally come off, and that’s when you can remove the skin.
How To Cut Shallots in Proper Methods?
In this article, we will show you two ways on how to cut shallots. Most people would choose to cut shallots into small pieces for seasoning, but some prefer slicing shallots in a definite shape for decoration. Let’s see how we can make chopped shallots.
1. Cut shallots
Step 1: Prepare the shallots
Always remember to prepare the shallots before cutting them. Removing skin and end stem beforehand will make your cutting process much cleaner and faster.
Step 2: Cut the shallot in half
This step is easy as you only need to place your shallots on the chopping board and slice them in half, like what you did when you cut an orange or a lemon.
A little notice to make the cutting more precise is that you should cut the shallots the same way the roots end. This perfect cutting position will keep the flesh fresh and neat while preparing a perfect base for your later cutting and slicing.
Step 3: Cut towards root end
Now what you would need to do is to cut the shallots toward the root. As we have said before, you should keep the roots for the cutting to be easier. In this step, you can divide the shallots into your wanted portion and cut them out evenly.
If you want to mince shallots after, cut each half of the shallot into eight pieces. Divide them into six or four pieces is entirely up to you and your cooking, but make sure to keep a close eye on what you are cutting to avoid hurting yourself.
To make it easier to visualize, you can think of cutting shallots the same way you practice how to cut chicken breast. When handling chicken breast, you also need to divide the chicken from its core before actually cutting. Cutting shallots has the same rule but with a much easier execution.
Step 4: Cut across
If you want your shallots to be in smaller shapes, then instead of dividing shallot gloves into smaller pieces, we will chop them across. This method is frequently used when you want to turn spices into tiny pieces for easy seasoning.
Turn your shallots to the horizontal side and start chopping them to the size you want. The more you know how to chop shallots, the more pureed the shallots will become. Be cautious not to chop the shallots too much as overcutting may decrease their internal spice.
If you want them to be smaller, continue to change your knife’s direction and chop the shallots back and forth until they achieve your desired size.
After chopping, place all of the cut shallots into a small bowl and use them to season your dishes. And that’s how to cut a shallot or how to mince a shallot.
2. Slice shallots
Sliced shallots are preferred when it comes to garnishing and flavor-boosting. First, you need to cut both ends of the shallots so that both sides have the same cut. Then, take off the skin using your fingers or a knife.
Turn the shallot to the position where you can cut out the most of it and start slicing the shallot into very small pieces. You will then have beautiful ring-shaped shallots to garnish your recipe!
Instead of full-ring-shaped, you can make a half-ring shape by cutting the shallots in half before cutting it. Compared to mincing shallots, slicing is much easier, but it requires you to be cautious when using a sharp knife. And that’s how to dice a shallot and how to mince shallots.
What Are The Tips On How To Cut Shallots?
- To peel shallots’ skin easier, soak them in warm water for 30 minutes. Water will make the skin naturally pop out, which makes removing the skin faster without you spending much effort.
- If you want to have perfectly sliced shallots, you should know how to polish a knife beforehand to make the blade extremely sharp. The sharper your blade is, the more easily you can cut your shallots.
- If you have frozen or store your shallots in the fridge before, let them stay at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before cutting. They need to be at room temperature for stable cutting.