I have a bone to pick with my brother, Neal (or Boozhie, as he is more commonly known). A few days back he opined the following thought:
Shallots are for babies; Onions are for men; garlic is for heroes.
I’m unsure of the origin of this quote: whether he found it somewhere or composed it himself. And, grammatically, I am impressed. A big fan of creative and appropriate semi-colon use, I applauded the architecture of the sentence. However, the message, I fear, is inaccurate.
Not to say that babies shouldn’t eat shallots, or that garlic isn’t for heroes, but the flow of the sentence implies a hierarchy whereby shallots are inferior to onions, which is, in turn inferior to garlic. It seems as though your implication here, is that shallots are for wussies. This, sir, I cannot abide! I raise my sword in defense of the noble shallot, and will not permit her name to be sullied by someone I otherwise respect.
Therefore, Boozhie–consider this my response. My dropped gauntlet, as it were…
Since I’ve moved to New York, where the Farmer’s Markets persist year round and seasonal eating has become a way of life, I’ve become enamored with a very simple fall dish: roasted vegetables. There are a few keys to this dish: oil (I’ve taken to grape-seed over olive), diversity (that is to say, the adequate balance between root vegetables–unpeeled, of course–and non root vegetables), a simple array of spices (salt, pepper, thyme, and, if I’m feeling adventurous, a little fresh rosemary), and, last but certainly not least: the onions/garlic. Clearly, an entire bulb of whole peeled garlic cloves is essential, but recently, I have begun to appreciate the spectacular flavors of whole roasted shallots, particularly when paired with turnips, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower.
If you care to endeavor garlic’s superiority over shallots, I challenge you to eat this dish. Sure shallots are a little more expensive, but, I would insist, they’re worth the investment. And I hope that you reconsider your otherwise witty remarks, and make room for the noble shallot.
And please save some room for leeks in your semi-colon-spattered taxonomy. They’re also well worth the inclusion…