There’s something about the flavor of shallots that always makes me think, “Ah, this is a French dish.” Shallots look like copper-skinned onions, and, indeed, they have the taste of a mild onion with a touch of garlic thrown in. Depending on the variety, shallots can be small and shaped like a teardrop or long and thin, but no matter the shape, when you buy a shallot, it should feel firm and shouldn’t have any sprouts at the top. Store shallots as you would onions, in a dark, cool, dry place. Just as I do with onions, I like to rinse and dry shallots after I’ve sliced or diced them — rinsing washes away the bitter liquid that often seeps from the shallot when it’s cut. If you don’t have shallots, use regular onions and a little chopped garlic.

Dorie Greenspan