News/Nuus

We've got SHALLOT to celebrate

What’s a chef’s favourite vegetable? The shallot, of course! So much more than an onion, the super-sexy allium has a sweeter, subtler flavour than its bigger counterpart. It brings elegance to the pan, elevating the often-under-rated onion oeuvre.

And did you know that some of the world’s best shallots are homegrown in South Africa at one of the Dutoit farms? Transported straight from the farm to a Woolworths, Pick ‘n Pay or Checkers near you, SA’s only commercially available shallots are fabulously fresh, bringing foodie finesse to Saffer kitchens across the country.  The season is short so don’t miss out!

Available from January to May only, shallots add French ‘je ne sais quoi’ – that elusive quality that cannot easily be named – to the table… or braai. Vincent Hewitt, Marketer at Dutoit says, “Nourished with the pure mountain waters of the Koue Bokkeveld, South Africa’s shallots are grown north of Ceres, surrounded by shrubland.  The farm was founded over 120 years ago in 1893 and has been farmed by the Dutoit family ever since. We take great pride in the quality of our onions and in offering something special and unique to the South African public.”

A favourite with chefs everywhere, the shallot differs from the everyday onion in some fundamental ways. Firstly, it grows like garlic, in clusters rather than single bulbs. Secondly, it has a softer flavour, bringing all the essence of an onion without the punch. Thirdly, it’s smaller and a little more oval-shaped. It is sublime in salads and is the essence of the bearnaise – that ambitious sauce that’s a must-to-master by all aspiring cooks.

Here are a few reasons why the shallot belongs in the modern South African kitchen: 

  • It really is an ideal seasoning. Take an ordinary potato salad and turn it into something special with raw, finely chopped shallots and a white wine vinegar dressing…
  • It’s a beauty on the braai. Simply wrap it in tinfoil and cook it on the coals. Unwrap it gently and add its elegant charred sweetness to other roast vegetables - or eat it as is.
  • Local is lekker.  There’s something special about cutting out the middleman and purchasing home-harvested produce you know has come straight from the farm. There’s the added pleasure of knowing your purchase goes towards supporting Dutoit’s tight-knit farming community. It’s farm-to-table at its best!
  • It’s toasty-roasty. South Africans are very good at roasts – lamb, chicken, beef... Shallots take this to a whole new level.
  • It’s saucy. Aside from the elusive bearnaise, shallots add something sublime to any sauce: think shallot and red wine sauce, balsamic-shallot sauce, or a creamy mushroom-shallot concoction.
  • It pairs exquisitely with wine. Shallots and wine go together like… shallots and wine. Sauté the exquisite alliums in butter until soft and their delicate earthiness will elevate any accompanying vintage – white or red. Add fresh tomatoes with a lighter-bodied red, or pop in carrots and tarragon to go with a dry Sauvignon.  A top tip? Deglaze the shallot pan with your chosen wine…
  • It’ll make you feel like you’re on Masterchef. If you’ve watched Masterchef, you know the shallot is a favourite with contestants. Using shallots will make you feel like you’re on the show and perhaps add extra flair to your cooking game. There’s a whole new world of recipes, waiting for you.

Vincent concludes, “We are delighted that so many South Africans are loving our shallots! We’ve seen these onions grow in popularity dramatically in the last few years as more and more chefs call them kitchen essentials. Our shallots are carefully grown. Only the best vegetables pass the test as our promise is to deliver world-class produce to local kitchens. We encourage you to try them; their subtlety will have you hooked in no time! The season is relatively short – from January to May – so don’t miss out.”

Dutoit is the only commercial producer of shallots in South Africa. It advocates a farm-to-table approach, with its produce going straight to leading supermarkets to be directly available to the public. This guarantees freshness and top-notch quality. 

 

SOUTH AFRICAN FOOD REVIEW

South Africans show the love for shallots.

Link: https://www.foodreview.co.za/south-africans-show-the-love-for-shallots/?...

 

THE FOOD FOX

    

As we’re all navigating a strange new reality within lockdown restrictions across the world, home cooking has become the centre of joy and recreation for many households. With limited outings to the shops, we’re all making the most of simple pantry ingredients plus whatever we have stocked in our fridges.

Dutoit Agri has approached me to create a shallot recipe a few days before our President’s first announcements of social distancing in South Africa, and we’ve decided to continue with this project as it can be a source of inspiration to many of us. Using a few economical pantry staples, you can whip up an easy dough for making flatbreads, even giving the kids a wonderful way to keep their (washed) hands busy. Shallots have a fantastic shelf life of 1-2 months, a long seasonality timeline (January – August), and they are so very versatile to use in an array of recipes. With a sweeter, milder taste than onions, they are also much more popular with kids. From using them raw in dressings and salads, to roasting them for a deeper flavour, they are an all-round winner in my pantry.

As we’re all navigating a strange new reality within lockdown restrictions across the world, home cooking has become the centre of joy and recreation for many households. With limited outings to the shops, we’re all making the most of simple pantry ingredients plus whatever we have stocked in our fridges.

Dutoit Agri has approached me to create a shallot recipe a few days before our President’s first announcements of social distancing in South Africa, and we’ve decided to continue with this project as it can be a source of inspiration to many of us. Using a few economical pantry staples, you can whip up an easy dough for making flatbreads, even giving the kids a wonderful way to keep their (washed) hands busy. Shallots have a fantastic shelf life of 1-2 months, a long seasonality timeline (January – August), and they are so very versatile to use in an array of recipes. With a sweeter, milder taste than onions, they are also much more popular with kids. From using them raw in dressings and salads, to roasting them for a deeper flavour, they are an all-round winner in my pantry.

Shallots are members of the allium family, closely related to onions, garlic, and chives. Their bulbs grow in clusters, similar to cloves of garlic. The biggest distinction between shallots and other onions, besides their milder flavor, is their cellular structure: shallots break down much more easily when cooked, allowing for a softer level of caramelization, or a more subtle touch when creating a foundation in sauces etc.

Here’s my recipe for roasted, caramelized shallots – a fantastic topping for easy homemade flatbreads, but also a great side dish, or an addition on burgers etc.

Before you start, remember to wash your hands (and the hands of your little helpers) properly, and to clean your work surfaces where you’ll be kneading the dough. Get ready, it’s a lot of fun!

For the roasted shallots:

  • 1 kg shallots, peeled and quartered lengthways (look out for Dutoit Agri shallots) 
  • 45 ml olive oil
  • 15 ml red wine vinegar (or sherry vinegar)
  • 30 ml honey, slightly warmed (pop it in the microwave for 15 seconds)
  • salt, to taste

Preheat your oven to 220 C. Arrange the shallot quarters in a roasting tray, then drizzle all over with the olive oil, vinegar and honey. Season with salt, then roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, stir, then return for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

For the flatbreads: (serves 4)

  • 2 cups stone ground white bread flour (or use regular cake flour if it’s all you have)
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) instant yeast
  • 5 ml (1 teaspoon) sugar
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 180 ml lukewarm water
  • 15 ml olive oil

Place the flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and stir. Add the water and oil and stir until it becomes sticky. Turn out on a clean surface, then knead to a soft, pliable dough. This is a great activity to get the kids (or a co-isolation housemate) involved! Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover to rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes.

In the meantime, heat your oven to 230 C. Divide the puffy dough into 4. On a floured surface, roll out each of the four pieces into a freeform shape – basically oval works great. Transfer to a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Top with your favourite toppings (see below), then bake at 230 C for 8-10 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wooden board or a plate, slice and serve immediately.

Possible toppings for assembling your flatbreads:

  • pommodoro (tomato) sauce, grated mozzarella and roasted shallots – great for kids
  • olive oil, feta, roasted shallots, thyme (fresh or dried), black pepper (add a drizzle of balsamic vinegar after baking)
  • grated cheddar, fried bacon bits, roasted shallots – great for kids
  • anchovies, capers, garlic, roasted shallots (top with fresh rocket leaves after baking)
  • basil pesto, sliced baby tomatoes, roasted shallots 

Link to video recipe: https://youtu.be/cW5u4D6chNE

Thank you DuToit Agri for the inspiration.

 

IZELLE HOFFMAN - LIFESTYLE CHEF

  

For the love of Healthy Living & Dutoit Shallots! Let’s get baking People...Creamy Avo & Shallot Cups for the Win! with the focus being anti inflammatory and immune boosting

Prep time 10-15min
Cooking Time 30min
Servings 12

Ingredients

For the Creamy Avo filling

  • 2 cans of Chickpeas drained, washed and pulped (I used a stickblender for this)
  • 2 Avocado’s mashed till smooth (I prefer @viavi.avo)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Almond Milk (I prefer @almondbreezesa Unsweetened)
  • 5 eggs whisked separately 
  • 100g almond flour plus extra for garnish (I prefer @natureschoicesa )
  • 1 tsp Oryx Salt @oryxdesertsalt 

For Caramelized Shallots

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 2-3 @dutoit_agri shallots diced 
  • 1 tsp oryx salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp Italian herbs
  • 2 tbsp raw honey

100g sundried tomato plus extra for garnish cut into chunks or small pieces

Instructions

Pre heat oven to 180’C

Prepare 2 muffin pans with non-stick spray and dust with almond flour, you can also bake them in cupcake liners
Prepare the filling by mixing the pulped chickpeas, mashed avo, unsweetened almond milk, whisked eggs and 1 tsp of oryx salt

Preheat a medium size pan with olive oil and fry the shallots till golden brown, season with the salt, pepper, herbs and honey, allow the honey to caramelize before removing from the heat. Set aside

Mix 3/4 of the shallots (keep the rest for garnish) and 100g of chopped sun-dried tomato into the filling.

Scoop the filling into muffin cups, garnish with the rest of the fried shallots, some sun-dried tomato and a sprinkle of almond flour. 

Finish off with ground black pepper

Bake for 25-30min

Allow to cool off completely before removing from the muffin pans if you are not using cupcake liners.

 

CHEF AYA GOPE - THE COOK DUDE

    

Dutoit is one of South Africa’s leading growers of vegetable produces with a range of shallots with exceptional and unique flavours. 

When I got the drop from Dutoit, I had several ideas on how to use the exceptional flavours of their shallots. This shallot bread is but one of many easy and inexpensive recipes you may want to try out with your family while on #lockdown 

Shallot Bread 

  • Shallots 1 (sliced)
  • Active dry yeast 10g (1 pack)
  • Warm water 2 1/2 cups 
  • Sugar 2 1/2 Tblspn
  • Salt 1tspn
  • Olive oil 1Tblspn 
  • Bread flower 6 cups 
  • Butter for topping (optional) 

Method

  • In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water with a pinch of sugar. When the yeast is bubbly and foamy, add the sugar, salt, oil, and 4 cups flour, and mix until smooth.
  • Add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, to form a soft, smooth dough. The dough should stick just slightly to your finger when touched, but not be overly sticky. Knead 5-7 minutes, until smooth, then roll into a ball.
  • Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turn over once to coat the top with oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise one hour, or until doubled.
  • When the dough has risen, punch it down gently and divide in half. Roll each half of the dough into a long rectangle about 8 inches wide. Roll the dough up, starting at the short edge, to form a cylinder that is approximately 8 inches wide. Repeat with remaining dough.
  • Sprinkle your shallots on top of the bread. Using your fingers, push the onion in and brush with olive oil.
  • Place the dough, seam side down, into lightly greased bread pans, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise one hour, or until the dough is ½ - 1 inch higher than the top of the pan.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Bake 30-35 minutes, or till the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Brush with melted butter, if desired. Remove to a cooling rack and cool before slicing.

——————

I have already shared a recipe on my stories on how to make the Shallot Butter. Another creative and inexpensive recipe is a Shallot Soup for the coming windy and cold winters as well. It can also go along way with your #LockdownMeals

Shallot Soup

  • Shallots 5 (sliced) 
  • Garlic clove 1 (finely chopped) 
  • Fresh spring of thyme 3
  • Salt & pepper 
  • Olive oil 
  • Veg stock 500ml 
  • Marmite 1tspn 
  • Gruyere cheese/ emmental/ boerenkaas 

Method

  • Switch oven to 180 degrees. In an oven tray, add all your ingredients together (except veg stock & cheese) and mix/rub using your hands. Cover with foil and bake for 15 min. Remove the foil and let it cook more in the oven for another 15min. 
  • In a sauce pan or pot, add in your shallots mix, veg stock & allow to simmer for 10minutes. Mix in your marmite and allow to simmer more on medium heat till the soup is the right consistency. 
  • Pour your shallots soup in a soup serving bowl, sprinkle some cheese on top and grill in the oven for 3-5 minutes (until the cheese melts & lightly golden brown) & serve. 

 

ZORAH BOOLEY - IN THE MIDNIGHT KITCHEN

How has the #stayhome situation been going? I have been doing so much recipe testing and blogging that I have somehow managed to stay sane. Today I decided to share my easy, spicy ramen noodle recipe with you. I know I have shared quite a few in the past but this one is by far one of my favourites, because of the flavours and taste (which is the most important part after all). 

I started off this recipe using locally grown shallots from Dutoit Agri, and they made such a difference to my meal. Usually onions affect me negatively due to IBS, so those of you who would like an alternative I can highly recommend these locally grown shallots.

Shallots can be used in so many ways, for example I used these to sauté my spices for the base of the ramen recipe, but I also love having them as is in their natural state, like  in a salad for example. They aren't acidic like onions, and have a rather sweet taste to them so it makes the chopping process even easier, because these shallots literally do not let you cry at all! taking into consideration with what is happening during the lockdown, keeping fresh produce can seem like a bit of a problem, but luckily I've found that shallot actually keep for up to two months without spoiling, so that actually makes day to day life easier and knowing they are still fresh is very comforting. 

Without further a do, I will introduce this amazing ramen recipe which took me less than 45 minutes to make and the pot was clean afterwards, not even a morsel left over. I hope you love this recipe as much as I do and look out for the new website coming this week friends!

Recipe: Spicy Ramen using shallots
Type: Normal
Servings: 3

Ingredients:

  • 3 egg noodle nests (57g each)
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 Dutoit Agri Shallot
  • 1 tsp crushed ginger
  • 1 tsp. cumin powder
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp. Tom Yum paste
  • 1-3 eggs (depending on servings)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 cup mushrooms

Method

  • Boil your kettle and measure out the four cups of broth and set aside.
  • In a medium sized pot add your shallots to the melted olive oil and butter and allow to become fragrant. 
  • Once the shallots have become translucent, add in the ginger, cumin powder, thyme and let simmer for 3 minutes. 
  • Then add in diced mushrooms, once they turn golden add in the broth and bring to a simmer.
  • Thereafter, Add in the tom yum paste. 
  • Boil the eggs for 8-10 minutes, remove the shell and set aside.
  • Once the broth is a beautiful red colour, add in the egg noodles. 
  • They should take about 6-8 minutes to soften, then allow to simmer for another 3 minutes. 

Dish into bowls, top with spring onion and the egg and enjoy!

Link: https://www.inthemidnightkitchen.com/savoury/spicy-ramen-noodles

 

TASTE MAGAZINE

Easy caramelised onion tarte tatin

Ingredients

  • 15 shallots
  • 2 T butter
  • olive oil, a drizzle
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 -2 fresh thyme sprigs
  • aged feta cheese (or goat's-milk feta)
  • 1 sheet readymade puff pastry
  • baby herbs, to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C. Peel the shallots and slice into 1 cm-thick slices. Heat 1 T of the butter and a glug of olive oil in a non-stick pan. Add the shallots and cook until browned and softened. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. To make the caramel sauce, melt remaining 1 T butter in an ovenproof pan over a medium heat. Stir through the caster sugar and balsamic vinegar. Add the minced garlic and the leaves of the fresh thyme. Season and simmer until it starts to caramelise.
  3. Return the onions to the pan. Crumble over the feta cheese or goat’s-milk feta. Top with the sheet of readymade puff pastry and tuck the pastry in around the edge of the tart. Make a small cross incision in the middle of the tart using a sharp knife to allow the air to escape while baking.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven, place a platter on top of the tart and flip over. Scatter with baby herbs and dig in.

Link to video recipe: https://youtu.be/rK_gBJCUR_0