Near the time of the winter solstice last year I wrote about timing of shallot planting and harvesting . Now as the summer solstice approaches the shallot harvest looms. I've dug a few hills over the spring as a monitoring exercise and I think the much of the harvest will be on time and ready in two weeks. The aroma of a freshly dug Grey Shallot is unforgettable. Its not onion-like nor sulfurous. Think of a dirty truffle stored overnight in a burlap bag that was used to carry fresh ramps. Its a one-of experience for serious foodies.
And another experience is the Alain Passard French Shallot soup with bacon cream. The recipe appears below and I encourage you to try it. Its simplicity might encourage the adventurous chef to add their own bit of whimsy but I've found that the 'basic' Passard 'recette' along with a bountiful glass of Lafon Mersault is sufficient to make anything that follows drab in comparison.
Vegetables of Interest, 2008
Cream of Shallot Soup….Alain Passard
- 600 g (1 lb. 5 oz.) French Shallots
- 40 g (3 tbsp.) half-salted butter
- 1 1/2 garlic cloves, peeled
- 500 ml (2 cups) whole milk
- Juice of half a lemon
- Fleur de sel
- 200 g (3/4 cup) heavy cream
- 150 g (5 oz.) smoked bacon, coarsely chopped
- Fleur de sel
1. Heat the cream and smoked bacon in a saucepan. Leave to infuse,
covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the bacon and put the cream in a
blender. Season and set aside in the refrigerator.
2. Wash, peel and mince the shallots. In a skillet, brown them lightly in the half-salted butter. Add the garlic cloves and whole milk and cook for 15 minutes over low heat.
3. Liquefy in a blender and strain; season with fleur de sel and lemon juice.
4. Whip the cream as soon as you take it out of the refrigerator until it has the consistency of whipped cream.
5. Serve the soup very hot. Top each bowl with a dollop of the whipped bacon cream.