Photo of Carla Hall's Rustic Tart of Onions and Leeks, which I've adapted since the October 14 farm share from Glade Road Growing includes a first--at least since I've been doing the recipes--shallots! (Also expect spaghetti squash,
And, if you don't feel like baking, think what a nice salad you could make with raw, thinly sliced shallots, radishes, sweet pepper, kohlrabi and some lightly steamed green beans in a Dijon vinegrette.
Shallots are in the genus Allium, along with the more common onions and garlic. The flavor is similar to an onion, but richer and more potent with a hint of garlic. When shallots are called for in a recipe, but unavailable, you need to use twice as many onions and maybe a clove of garlic.
There are two types of traditional shallots featured in French cooking, gray (allium oschaninii) and red (allium cepa var. aggregatum), which are grown from bulbs. The original botanical name for red shallots, allium ascalonicum, points to their origins in the Middle East and refers to the Port of Ascalon, in Palestine, which is now known as the Ashkelon seaside resort in Israel.
Then there are Dutch shallots, which can be grown from seed (and despised as inferior by the French--although the botanical guide I looked at also classified them, as are the red shallots as allium cepa var. aggregatum.) Here's a fascinating account of the shallot wars from the French gardening blog, L'Atelier Vert.
And just to make things even more confusing, there is a wild Persian shallot (allium hirtifolium Boiss.)
To make crust:
Cut 2 sticks of unsalted butter into 1/2 inch dice. In a medium bowl, combine 2 1/4 cups of white whole wheat flour, 1 TB sugar and 1/2 tsp sea salt and stir with a rubber spatula or a fork to combine. Add the butter to the bowl. Rub the cold chunks of butter between your fingertips, smearing the butter into the flour to create small (roughly 1/4-inch) flakes of fat. Form into a ball and flatten into a disk and refrigerate until very cold.
Let the chilled dough sit at room temperature to soften slightly—it should be cold and firm but not rock hard. Depending on how long the dough was chilled, this could take 5 to 20 minutes. When ready to roll, lightly flour parchment paper on a counter and position the rolling pin in the center of the dough disk. Roll away from you toward 12 o’clock, easing the pressure as you near the edge to keep the edge from becoming too thin. Return to the center and roll toward 6 o’clock. Repeat toward 3 and then 9 o’clock, always easing the pressure at the edges and picking up the pin rather than rolling it back to the center until you have a 12-inch round. Slide the parchment paper with the dough on it onto a half sheet pan, cover lightly and put back into fridge.
To prepare shallots and mushrooms:
Peel shallots, cut off root end and cut in half lengthwise. Drizzle with 1 TB of extra virgin olive oil and roast at 400 degrees F until softened and golden about 30 minutes. (It will take less time, if you are using a convection oven)
While the shallots are roasting, slice 3/4 pounds of mushrooms to make about 4 cups. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushroom juices release and evaporate and the mushrooms start to brown, about five minutes. Add 1/4 cup dry white wine, bring to a boil and simmer until it evaporates. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper and remove to plate.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
To make cheese mixture:
In a large bowl, stir together until mixed well:
3/4 cup of ricotta or cottage cheese,
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese, at room temp
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigano-Reggiano cheese
3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To assemble tart:
Take the round of dough out of the fridge and spread the cheese mixture evenly over it, leaving a 2-inch border. Spoon the mushrooms in an even layer over the cheese and top with shallots arranged cut side up. While it will be a round tart as at the top, the shallots will be arranged more like this:
Fold the border of the dough over the mushrooms, pleating the dough every two inches. Immediately transfer to the oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown - about 25 minutes. Drizzle with a little more olive oil. Cut into wedges and serve immediately.
Here are additional shallot recipes (each of which serves 4) which I've translated (best as I could) from the official site, Echalote Traditionnelle.
Finely chop 1 or 2 shallots and add them 6 1/2 oz. of wine vinegar in a covered jar and refrigerate overnight.
Melt 2 oz. unsalted butter and 2 oz. salted butter in a heavy pan. Peel 16 Shallots and cut in half lengthwise and saute over low heat with two branches of thyme until shallots are dark golden in color and very soft. Remove the thyme. (You can use the butter again, which will be flavored by the shallots and thyme by pouring it through a sieve to remove any debris, then allowing it to cool, pouring it into a covered jar and storing it in the fridge.
This is especially good added to baked chicken [or roasted potatoes] which have been cooked halfway and then coated before finishing in a sauce made from toasted black sesame seeds cooled and combined with 1.5 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, ½ tablespoon soy sauce and 5 1/2 TB extra virgin olive oil.
Cream of shallot and mushroom soup
Slice 15 shallots and 1 pound of mushrooms into strips and saute in butter or olive oil over low heat, for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper. In a saucepan, heat 7 cups of stock. Add the shallots and mushrooms and 1 cup of cream and blend. The original recipe called for garnishing with smoked duck and croutons, but you can pick a garnish of your choice or none.
Wondering what to do with kohlrabi? Here are two previous recipes: