The mild spicy flavor of shallots comes out best when they are eaten raw. Shallots are very popular around the globe. Mexico, Germany, France, Hungary, and Spain are market leaders in the production of shallots.
From Wikipedia: “The shallot is a type of onion, specifically a botanical variety of the species Allium cepa.
The shallot was formerly classified as a separate species, A. ascalonicum, a name now considered a synonym of the currently accepted name.
Its close relatives include the garlic, leek, chive, and Chinese onion.”
“Shallots probably originated in Central or Southwest Asia, travelling from there to India and the eastern Mediterranean. The name "shallot" comes from Ashkelon, an ancient Canaanite city, where people in classical Greek times believed shallots originated. ...
The term eschalot, derived from the French word échalote, can also be used to refer to the shallot. The usage of green onion for shallot is found among English-speaking people in Quebec; but when shallot is used, stress is on the second syllable.”
Description and cultivation:
“Like garlic, shallots are formed in clusters of offsets with a head composed of multiple cloves. The skin colour of shallots can vary from golden brown to gray to rose red, and their off-white flesh is usually tinged with green or magenta.
Shallots are extensively cultivated for culinary uses, propagated by offsets. In some regions ("long-season areas"), the offsets are usually planted in autumn (September or October in the Northern Hemisphere). In some other regions, the suggested planting time for the principal crop is early spring (typically in February or the beginning of March in the Northern Hemisphere).
In planting, the tops of the bulbs should be kept a little above ground, and the soil surrounding the bulbs is often drawn away when the roots have taken hold. They come to maturity in summer, although fresh shallots can now be found year-round in supermarkets. Shallots should not be planted on ground recently manured.”
“Eating vegetables in the genus Allium (includes shallots, chives, cultivated onions, garlic, leeks, and scallions) reduces the risk of stomach cancer. Thanks to the sulfides and sulfurous substances they contain, these spicy foods also have anti-inflamatory effects.*”
“Shallots are used in fresh cooking in addition to being pickled. Finely sliced, deep-fried shallots are used as a condiment in Asian cuisine, often served with porridge. As a species of Allium, shallots taste somewhat like a common onion, but have a milder flavor. Like onions, when sliced, raw shallots release substances that irritate the human eye, resulting in production of tears.
Shallots appear to contain more flavonoids and phenols than other members of the onion genus.”
“Fresh shallots can be stored in cool, dry area (32 to 40 °F, 60 to 70% RH) for six months or longer. Chopped, dried shallots are also available.”
Note (italics): * = Translation from a German Wikipedia entry