When it’s wild-caught, salmon is one of the healthiest foods on the planet! On top of the exquisite taste and simplicity of preparation, this fish is also highly nutritious. Salmon is extremely versatile – it can be baked, fried, smoked, or poached; it can be shaped into salmon patties and cakes or added to salads and combined with a variety of sauces… Salmon is truly a multi-talented fish.
This post covers everything from quick weeknight salmon recipes to more lavish special occasion varieties. We will talk about which types and cuts of salmon are the best to buy, the basic kitchenware you need, as well as different methods of preparation. But first, let’s talk about salmon’s nutritive values.
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With its high content of omega-3, vitamins, and minerals, this fish helps in preventing a number of diseases and conditions.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to various diseases like cancer. Due to the high content of vitamin D, salmon is credited for keeping the entire body in good health. However, the real star of the nutritive show are the omega-3 fatty acids.
The omega-3 fats are known for their anti-inflammatory properties which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems like hypertension and stroke.
Omega-3s, in conjunction with vitamins A, D, and selenium also found in salmon, are also credited with increased cognitive functions (memory and focus), and prevention of age-related nervous system damage like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. In addition, these nutrients also help maintain strong bones.
Omega-3 fats are also believed to decrease the risk of eye problems such as glaucoma and are also important for eye development in small children.
These healthy fats, in combination with the antioxidants found in salmon, reduce oxidative damage which may lead to premature aging, making the skin healthy and glowing.
Finally, omega-3s have been shown to prevent and even kill various types of tumors, making salmon a real superfood!
Choosing the Best Salmon
Before we get into the secrets for cooking delicious salmon, we should first make sure we’ve selected high-quality meat. As mentioned before, only wild-caught salmon can be considered good for you. Farmed salmon, on the other hand, can be highly toxic and contaminated with dioxins and mercury among other things. That is why it should be avoided at all times.
Our research has shown that the best salmon on the market is the true Alaskan wild-caught salmon. It is one of the least contaminated species, along with Southeast Alaskan chum, coho, sockeye, Kodiak, and chinook.
How to choose the best salmon? To make sure you always get a fresh fish, shop at the fishmonger’s instead of in the supermarkets. The fish should have even coloring, without any dark spots, firm flesh, and clear eyes. It should also smell fresh (let’s say not too fishy) and contain no slime in the gills.
It is best to eat fresh salmon immediately but if you don’t, it can safely stay in the fridge provided it is properly stored. Wrap the fish tightly in plastic wrap and keep it in the coldest part of the refrigerator.
Salmon can keep for six months in the freezer. When ready to use, take it out and leave it in the fridge overnight. Do not leave it at room temperature because bacteria can easily develop.
If you are in a rush, immerse the salmon in water (cool, not hot) and leave it for 1-2 hours.
Different Cuts of Salmon
Different cuts mean different manners of preparation, but also different purposes. You can choose from fillets, steaks, and sides.
The most widely used cuts of salmon are the fillets. This is mainly due to the fact that fillets can be cooked using almost all cooking techniques. In addition, the it is very easy to remove the pin bone from fillets.
When buying fillets, you can choose ones with or without skin. Generally, skin-on filets are great for frying because they get a crispy surface, whereas skinless filets are perfect for poaching.
Steaks are ideal for pan-searing, grilling, broiling, and baking. Choose thicker steaks as they remain juicy after cooking. Serve them with the bones and skin removed.
A side of salmon is actually the piece from which fillets are cut. This one is perfect for feeding a crowd. It can be roasted, grilled, poached, or broiled.
As far as purpose is concerned, the general rule is: fillets and steaks are great for quick family meals, while a whole side of salmon is suitable for special-occasion meals which involve a larger number of people.
Essential Kitchenware for Cooking Salmon
Cooking salmon is not difficult, especially if you have the right tools in the kitchen. Here is what you need:
Small pliers for removing pin bones.
A cast iron pan for searing fillets but also for cooking them in the oven. If you are buying a nonstick pan, make sure it is also suitable to use in the oven as well. For broiling and roasting, the best choice is a reinforced sheet pan.
Parchment paper or aluminum foil are indispensable when baking the salmon. They can be used for wrapping fillets or lining the pans to prevent sticking and make cleaning much easier.
For grilling, consider investing in a grill basket for the fish. It will allow you to cook several pieces of fish at the same time, thus simplifying the whole process.
Large spatula for lifting, turning and transferring the fish.
Salmon Cooking Techniques
There are several ways to cook salmon but no matter which one you decide to go with, first you need to remove the pin bones found in fillets and steaks. This is optional but certainly makes the cut look better and, what’s more important, easier to eat.
Pin bones are flexible bones (about an inch long) positioned vertically in the center of the filet. To remove the pin bone, lay the salmon fillet on a board skin side down. Locate the ridge of bones with your fingers. Using the pliers, grab the bone’s tip and pull it out.
#1 Grilled Salmon
We choose to begin with grilling for two reasons:
- First, it is summer and grilled salmon is perfect for hot days (although, not exclusively J);
- Secondly, grilling is very quick and simple, with minimum mess, which allows for easy cleanup.
Not to mention the amazing earthy & smoky flavor!
You can grill fillets, steaks, and even a whole salmon (if you have a big enough grill). If you decide to grill fillets, make sure they have the skin on and cook the skin side first. We find the steaks to be the best for grilling because they are easiest to turn.
Charcoal grills are a perfect choice. Make sure the coals are hot before placing the fish (slightly oiled) on the grill. Cook for 5 minutes, then turn with a spatula (if the meat is sticking to the grate, leave it for another minute or so). Cook the other side for another 5 minutes.
Grilled salmon recipes:
Grilled Salmon Skewers
Grilled salmon Greek Pitas
Maple Soy Grilled Salmon Steaks
#2 Oven Cooked Salmon
We bet your first thought was ‘baked salmon’. But your oven can do so much more than baked salmon. Here is why we love cooking salmon in the oven:
– Oven-cooking works for all salmon cuts;
– Requires minimum attention, allowing you to prepare the rest of the meal. All you need to do is watch the time.
To make baked salmon, all you need to do is season the fish with some salt and pepper, then place it skin-side down in a lightly greased sheet pan or baking dish. Bake for about 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees F without turning it over!
If you have more time and patience, you can further improve the salmon’s flavor by pan-searing it first. Start by sizzling the fish in some butter or olive oil, skin-side down, in an oven-proof skillet for about 3 minutes. Then, transfer the skillet together with the fish in an oven heated to medium-low heat and cook for about 20 minutes. Finally, return it to the stovetop for another three minutes at high heat to make it crispy!
Baked salmon recipes:
Fresh Oven-Baked Salmon
Sweet and Spicy Baked Salmon
Sweet Chili Soy Glazed Foil Baked Salmon
Salmon En Papillote
En papillote means wrapped in aluminum foil or parchment paper. Just place the fillet, followed by a layer of seasoning and lemon slices (alternatively, you can add lemon juice or vegetables). Fold, place on a sheet pan, and bake at 400 degrees F for about 10-15 minutes. The fish is done when the packages are puffed.
Place the seasoned salmon on a sheet pan and set the oven to a broil. Position the fish onto the top rack of the oven under the broiler and cook for about three minutes. If you like your salmon well done, turn the oven off at this point and leave it inside for 3-4 minutes more.
Broiled salmon recipes:
Maple Orange Salmon
Blood Orange Miso Glazed Broiled Salmon
#3 Stovetop Cooked Salmon
Cooking on the stovetop requires more of your attention but it sure produces a super-tasty meal.
Pan-frying the salmon produces the crispiest skin you can imagine! All you need to do is season the fish with some salt and pepper and cook in some olive oil or butter over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. Use a spatula to flip and cook for another 3 minutes. Add some lemon juice and serve!
Pan-fried salmon recipes:
Pan-Fried Salmon with Asparagus and Couscous Salad
Pan-Seared Salmon on Thai Cured Spinach
Cumin Scented Pan-Seared Salmon with Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
If you’re looking for a healthier, low-fat option, poaching is the best choice for you. This method of preparation is best when you plan to combine salmon with sauces or make salmon patties and salads.
Fill a sauté pan with water (just enough to cover the fillets) and place the salmon. Add some salt, peppercorns, and bay leaf (if you wish, you can also add onion slices and other herbs to taste). Bring the water to a simmer, then lower the heat. Cover the pan and cook for about half an hour.
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When is the Salmon Done?
The best way to check if your salmon is done is to insert a knife into the thickest part and check the color. If the meat is reddish-orange, the fish is rare, whereas pale pink means the meat is medium.
More Delicious Salmon Recipes
Tasty Salmon Cakes
Salmon & Dill Quiches
Smoked Salmon Ball
Crispy Salmon Croquettes
Salmon Corn Cakes
Southern Salmon Patties
Looking for something easy and simple to cook? Couscous is the perfect solution for you. This Northern African staple made from crushed durum wheat adds an amazing fluffy texture to your salad, stew, fish, and meat recipes. Its tiny granules and neutral taste make couscous a perfect alternative to pasta and rice.
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What is Couscous?
Couscous (cous cous) is a Berber dish originating in Numidia, North Africa where, according to records, it has been consumed since 238 BC. One of the earliest written couscous recipes dates from the 13th century North African cookbook called “The cookbook of the Maghreb and Andalusia”.
Originally, couscous was made from millet. The conversion to semolina seems to have begun as late as the 20th century even though some regions still make millet, barley, and Farina couscous. In Brazil, traditional couscous is made from cornmeal.
The most widely spread type of cous cous today consists of tiny (about 3mm in diameter) balls made of semolina. Semolina is obtained by coarsely grinding or crushing wheat’s inner seed which makes it very rich in protein.
Couscous is considered a national dish throughout the North African cuisines of Algeria, Morocco, Libya, and Mauritania where it symbolizes good luck, abundance, and blessings. To a lesser extent, cous cous is also consumed in Central and Western Africa, as well as in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines like Israeli, Turkish, Greek, and Sicilian cuisine.
Simple Greek Couscous
Traditionally, couscous is cooked by steaming and served with a meat or vegetable stew spooned over it.
The name is derived from the Berber word kesksu or seksu, meaning “rounded”.
Types of Couscous
There are three main types of couscous: Israeli, Lebanese, and Moroccan.
Israeli couscous is also called Ben-Gurion rice or ptitim which means ‘flakes’. Outside the country, it is usually sold under the labels Israeli couscous, Jerusalem couscous, or pearl couscous. Ptitim is toasted pasta shaped like tiny pellets (the size of peppercorns) whose origins can be traced back to the 1950s in Israel when rice was scarce. Israeli couscous takes longer to cook; it is usually steamed but can also be baked or fried. Israeli couscous can be stirred like rice in risotto (combined with sautéed garlic, onions, veggies, and meat), included in pies, soups, or used for stuffing. It is especially popular among kids I Israel, who eat it plain or mixed with tomato paste & fried onions.
Israeli Couscous with Chicken and Peas
Israeli Couscous with Red Pepper Sauce
Lebanese couscous is larger than Israeli couscous, the pellets being about the size of small peas. It is called moghrabieh which means ‘a dish from the Maghreb’ and is considered a festive meal in the country. Lebanese couscous is usually cooked in lamb or chicken bouillon and served with lamb or chicken meat chunks.
Moroccan couscous is comprised of tiny grains of semolina that are about three times the size of cornmeal grains. It is the type of cous cous that cooks fastest.
Wild Caught Cod with Moroccan Couscous
Moroccan Chicken Couscous with Vegetables
When it comes to couscous nutrition, the first question we need to answer is: “Is couscous gluten-free?” Well, bearing in mind that wheat is one of the three grains that contain gluten (besides rye and barley), the answer is negative.
However, that doesn’t mean that cous cous isn’t good for you. Here are the health benefits of consuming couscous:
Couscous is very rich in lean, plant-based protein (one cup contains 6 grams of protein) which is crucial for keeping the muscles, bones, skin, and internal organs in good shape.
Eating this grain-like pasta will provide you with dietary fiber as well (one cup contains 2 grams of dietary fiber). Because of its ability to absorbs water, dietary fiber makes you feel satiated which makes it crucial for managing body weight. In addition, it prevents constipation and regulates cholesterol levels.
Considering that couscous is unprocessed whole grain food, most of the nutrients it contains remain intact. It is a great source of vitamins, especially niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, B6, pantothenic acid, and folate. These nutrients are responsible for keeping the skin, blood cells, nervous system, brain, heart and immune system in good shape.
When it comes to minerals, selenium prevails with over 60% of the recommended daily value per serving. This mineral is very important for the thyroid hormones, reproductive health, protein synthesis and preventing oxidative damage. There is also manganese which is crucial for regulating blood sugar levels and metabolism, as well as maintaining healthy blood, bones, hormones, and boosting cognitive functions.
The beauty of couscous, besides being extremely versatile, is that it cooks in no time and there’s almost no way to get it wrong. Almost.
The product that we usually buy from the supermarkets is instant couscous. This means it has been steamed and dried in advance and you only need to boil water before it is ready to eat.
Here is what you need for cooking couscous:
1 cup instant couscous
1 cup water
1-2 tablespoons olive oil or butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
Even though couscous is pasta, when it comes to cooking it acts like a grain. This means that you can’t just pour it into a boiling water, cook, and then drain it.
The water-couscous ratio is usually 1:1 but it largely depends on the recipe;
- add a bit more water if you want a somewhat sticky couscous you’ll be using instead of rice in risotto recipes (one cup water to 2/3 cup couscous)
- or decrease the amount of water if you’re planning to make a couscous salad (one cup couscous to 2/3 cup water)
Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad
Deconstructed Pesto Couscous Salad
The truth is couscous only needs 5-10 minutes soaking in a simmering or very hot water. This, however, depends largely on the brand so, if you aren’t sure stick to the traditional method of preparation:
Pour the water and butter or oil in a saucepan. Heat over high heat until it boils.
Once the water is boiling, remove the saucepan from heat and add the couscous together with the salt and stir well. If you don’t remove the water from heat, the couscous will overcook.
Cover the saucepan with a lid and let it sit for about 10 minutes so that the couscous absorbs the water. Taste to checks whether it has softened. If the couscous is still crunchy, cover and let it sit for about 5 more minutes.
The texture of the couscous depends a lot on the age of the couscous. Right after cooking, the couscous is very dense and chewy. To prevent this, turned it out into a bowl after it has cooled. Then, with oiled fingers, separate the grains and work out any lumps until. Alternatively, fluff the couscous by gently breaking any clumps with a fork. This is done just before serving. In case you aren’t serving it immediately, just cover the saucepan to keep the couscous warm.
Generally, one cup of dried couscous yields four cups of cooked couscous.
For more flavor, you can use broth instead of water. Another way to add extra flavor is to toast the couscous before steaming. Melt some butter in a pan, then add the uncooked couscous and stir until fragrant. Boil the water in a separate saucepan, then pour it over the toasted couscous and follow the instructions given above.
Warm Couscous Salad with Salmon and Mustard-Dill Dressing
Top 5 Couscous Recipes
As we mentioned before, couscous is so versatile that it can even be used in desserts. Choosing the best couscous recipes is not an easy task but after lots of sampling and cooking, we’ve managed to find them.
Couscous Pepper Cups
Colorful bell peppers are used with double purpose in this recipe – besides being a treat on their own, they also serve as ‘baking cups’ for the savory couscous blend. do double-duty in this fun dish—they are “baking cups” for a savory blend comprised of couscous cooked in chicken broth, mushrooms, raisins, pine nuts, and parsley. Tip: To keep the bell peppers stand straight in the baking dish, cut a small slice off the bottom.
Couscous Vegetable Salad
A variation of this couscous recipe is made by adding 1/2 to 1 cup raisins to the couscous mixture after removing from heat and then sprinkling with 1/2 to 1 cup peanuts on top just before serving.
Moroccan Chicken Bake
Just like its deserts and seacoast, Morocco’s cuisine is full of contrasts. This nutty and spicy chicken is baked with couscous, green olives, raisins, and spices. You can vary the amount of ground cumin as you wish or, if you don’t have it in your kitchen, substitute it with parsley.
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Creamy Tarragon Chicken
Golden, pan-fried chicken and mixed vegetables in velvety tarragon sauce create a simple and yet rich dinner. Tip: to keep the chicken warm and help seal in the moisture, cover with aluminum foil.
Mediterranean Turkey Pie
This is an exotic Moroccan-style feast with turkey and a blend of unique, flavorful, and healthy ingredients including honey, cumin, apricots, cinnamon, eggs, Feta and Parmesan cheese, olives, and sun-dried tomatoes. Perfection!
Every cook, whether beginner or not, knows how important onions are. With their sweet and earthy flavor, these alliums form the base for various dishes in almost all cuisines around the world. Besides flavor, onions are also well-loved for their wide availability throughout the year, as well as their long storage life.
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However, once you delve into cooking, you’ll find out that onions have over a dozen varieties: shallots, scallions, spring onions, red onions… The more varieties you discover, the more confused you become. Which type of onion is the best for sauces? Which one to incorporate in your meaty dishes?
One of the most common onion varieties is shallot. Surprisingly, there’s a great number of recipes that call for shallots. When you decide to buy them, you will probably feel even more confused: they look like garlic but taste like sweet onions. On top of that, they are quite hard to peel. So, what are shallots exactly? Can they just be replaced with onions? Are there any other suitable shallot substitutes you can use?
This article will answer all your questions related to shallots.
What Are Shallots?
Shallots is a type of onion, more specifically, a botanical variety of the species Allium cepa. Its closest relatives are garlic, chive, leeks, and Chinese onion.
It originated in Central or Southwest Asia and reached the Mediterranean region traveling through India. The name “shallot” comes from Ashkelon, a city in Canaan, where Ancient Greeks believed shallots originated.
Shallot’s skin varies from golden brown to gray to red. Most shallots have a white flesh that is sometimes broken up by magenta or green lines.
When peeled, they separate into cloves like garlic. Shallots are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes.
The so-called Western shallots are the most common type sold in the US supermarkets. They are rounder, smaller, thinner, and lighter in color than regular onions and often referred to as “false shallots” or “Jersey shallots”. Their skin is pinkish-orange, whereas the flesh is light purple.
Asian shallots are even smaller and with a deeper purple color. The French gray shallots, also known as griselles, are pear-shaped and offer a rather subtle flavor. They are also called “true shallots”.
As far as size is concerned, shallots can be small, medium, and jumbo. As a rule of thumb, smaller shallots taste milder and, according to experienced cooks, better.
Compared to onions, shallots have sweeter, milder, and more complex flavor, with a slightly garlicky twist. The longer shallots are stored, the more intense their flavor gets.
In case you were wondering, they make your eyes tear, though not as much as regular onions. All members of the allium family contain sulfur-based compounds, which are released upon cutting the plant’s cells, react with the atmospheric oxygen and make you cry.
Just like other types of onions, shallots can be eaten raw (usually in salads and dressings) or cooked (fried or roasted), in addition to being pickled. This makes them easy to incorporate into various recipes.
Historically, shallots have been used both for their aromatic and medicinal properties in Asian, French, and Mediterranean cooking.
Finely diced shallots are especially popular in French cuisine, where they’re often combined with wine or butter to provide the flavor base for sauces like Béarnaise, Bercy, and Beurre Blanc.
It is safe to say that shallots are indispensable in Asian cuisine. In the southern regions of India, they are commonly added to curries and different types of sambar, a lentil-based dish. Indian restaurants often include shallots pickled in red vinegar in their menus.
Iranians love grated shallots with yogurt, usually as a side dish to kebabs or as part of torshi, a sour dish comprised of various vegetables under vinegar.
Shallots are also widely used in many Southeast Asian dishes like fried rice. Chinese cuisine offers shallot chips, whereas in Indonesia, they’re pickled and added to various traditional dishes.
Buying and Storing Shallots
Shallots are available throughout the whole year, but their peak season is summer, i.e. from May to September. They can be found fresh and green in the spring, as well as dry, freeze-dried, and dehydrated throughout the whole year.
Like garlic, fresh shallots are sold in clusters but when selecting the best samples, think of onions. Ideally, shallots should be firm and compact, without visible damages. They should have their skin on and it should be smooth and shiny. If you see sprouted shallots, avoid them, since sprouts are an indicator of age.
If kept in a cool, dry, and dark place with plenty of air circulation, shallots will last for up to one month. If you place them in a clean pantyhose and hang them, they can last up to two months.
In case your shallots sprout, don’t worry, you can still use them. Just remove the bitter green sprouts or, if you are a fan of stronger flavors, include the sprouts into your dishes.
Shallots can be chopped and frozen up to three months. It should be noted though, that once you thaw them, they will not be as crunchy as fresh ones.
Health Benefits of Shallots
The health benefits of shallots have been known and appreciated for thousands of years. In Indian medicine, they’re often prescribed as a remedy for a sore throat, combined with jaggery and sugar. In Ayurveda, shallots are believed to have a cooling effect, which makes them suitable for alleviating inflammation, muscle pains, water-retention, and swelling.
Even though they’re smaller in size and milder in taste, shallots contain more antioxidants (flavonoids and phenols) than other members of the onion family! This makes them very efficient in reducing oxidative damage and fighting various chronic diseases.
Shallots also contain sulfoxides, which give them antibiotic, antidiabetic, and fibrinolytic properties. This means that shallots are great for fighting viral and bacterial infections, controlling blood sugar levels, preventing insulin resistance, preventing the formation of blood clots, and reducing LDL cholesterol levels.
Shallots and other onions contain vitamins A, B6, and C, essential minerals like potassium, as well as anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties that benefit the blood vessels, digestive organs, muscles, and skin.
Shallots vs. Onions – Can They Be Used Interchangeably in Recipes?
After interviewing some of our users and fellow cooks, we have found that almost all of them tend to stock up on onions and garlic but only a few keep shallot reserves in their kitchen. The reasons for this range from simply forgetting to buy shallots to the fact that their price is slightly higher. There’s also their size, which makes them harder to cut, and the fact that they’re somewhat finicky to peel. In other words, shallots are not considered an essential ingredient in the kitchen.
That is why knowing how to substitute shallots is very important. Onions are the most available substitute for using but you need to be careful. Swapping onions for shallots in the same amount will result in a dish with prominently oniony flavor.
Also, it should be noted that onions can replace shallots only in cooked dishes. Raw onions in a dressing don’t taste so good (and will result in bad breath). Also, this swap is not applicable for recipes that call for more than a ½ cup of shallots. This amount implies that shallots play an important role in the recipe and replacing them might ruin the whole dish.
So, what type of onions are the best substitute for shallots? Well, any onion can substitute for a shallot, depending on the person you ask. Most coking experts voted for yellow onions. Small white onions, also called pearl onions, can replace shallots as well. On the other hand, sweet onions are considered too sweet, whereas red onions are too strong. However, all onion types have a common trait – when cooked, they get softer and lighter in taste.
To recreate the shallot flavor, add just a pinch of garlic powder to the onions you decide to use. However, bear in mind that garlic is stronger in taste than shallots so be careful not to add too much. You can also add fresh garlic. Just crush a clove and add only the liquid that comes out.
As a rule of thumb, one onion replaces three shallots. Since shallots are smaller, make sure to chop the onions into pieces that are smaller than usual.
Shallots tend to melt when cooked but that’s not the case with onions. To help mellow the onions’ flavor further, cook them down before adding to the dish.
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Shallots vs. Scallions
Shallots and scallions are often mixed up. If you want to test this theory, just send your husband to buy one of them J It might have something to do with their names or the fact that they’re the two mildest and most versatile members of the allium family
However, these two are quite different in appearance. Scallions are actually green onions, sold in bunches in the grocery stores. Scallions are in fact ordinary onions, only harvested while immature and still cylindrical, hence their slender, leek-like appearance.
Scallions are most often used raw to add a pungent note to egg dishes and salads, or simply sliced into thin rings as a garnish. When it comes to cooked dishes, they’re most often added to soups, stir-fries, and quiches for subtle flavoring. Combined with garlic and ginger, scallions form a base for sauces and broths.
Are scallions a suitable substitute for shallots? Yes, scallions are mild enough to serve as a substitute for shallots. Make sure to only use the tops, without the bulbs, and add them later in the cooking process to avoid overcooking.
Other Substitutes for Shallots
When used as shallot substitutes, leeks are very similar to scallions, i.e. only the tops are used. However, since they take longer to cook than scallions, leeks should be added earlier in the cooking process. Alternatively, leeks can be sautéed over medium heat to soften before adding them to the recipe.
Garlic scapes, i.e. the flower buds of the garlic plant, look much like green onions but with long, twisting tails. In terms of taste, they are somewhere between onions and garlic. In terms of flavor, they taste somewhat sharper than shallots so, when you use them as a substitute, reduce the amount required in the recipe by about 1/4.
Delicious Shallot Recipes
Shallots make a great addition to stir-fries, sautés, salads, soups, side dishes, and casseroles, and is very often paired with garlic.
Combine them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, as well as fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme to create marinades and sauces for your meat dishes.
Raw shallots pair well with fresh fruits like pineapple or vegetables like jalapeno to produce healthy salsas.
Here are more ideas to use shallots when cooking:
Tangy Mustard Pork Chops
Spinach Chicken Roll-Up
Garlic Parsley Potatoes
Corn and Bell Pepper Sauté
Veal with Blackberry Sauce
Mushroom Herb Risotto
Just as you can’t judge a book by its covers, you can’t judge a dish by its name. In fact, a dish with an off-putting name is delicious 9 times out of ten. And if you are eager to try new and fun foods, then maybe a shoo-fly pie or a Sloppy Joe will be just your cup of tea. Read along to find out more about the history and the interesting stories behind the names.
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Angel’s Food Cake
No, the recipe for this incredibly delicious cake was not created by a divine intervention, but the Angel’s food cake is just that, heavenly good! An interesting fact about this cake is that it was said to be the “food of the angels” when it first appeared in the 19th century. A more down to earth explanation, though, would be that the name of this cake comes from the fact that it is made with only egg whites, flour, and sugar – all white, just as angels are. And its texture, spongy, fluffy, and light, resembles the clouds angels sleep on :). This cloud-like texture can be put down to the protein foam (the whipped eggs), but what makes this cake stand out is the fact that it doesn’t call for butter.
How did fried balls of cornmeal end up being called puppies? Sure, if this was a recipe made with some kind of mini sausage then the explanation would be that “hot dogs” became “puppies”, but cornmeal is no sausage, and hush puppies are a few years older than hot dogs. While hot dogs were first introduced in 1870, hush puppies date back to the Civil War.
So what’s the story behind the name of this Southern staple? A legend says that their name has to do with the fact that fried bits of dough were thrown to hungry dogs to keep them quiet when frying catfish. —hence, “hush puppies.”
Yet another legend, places this story in the Civil War when Confederate soldiers heard Yankee soldiers approaching while they were preparing dinner. In order not to be discovered they had to silence their dogs somehow and to do that they referred to none other than fried cornmeal cakes for help :). Instead of barking they were noming.
Yet another dish whose name isn’t indicative of its taste, or the ingredients included. A shoofly pie is a molasses crumb cake prepared in a pie crust. The crust probably entered the picture so that people could eat a piece without using utensils, but the name stuck. This pie, much like the Angel food cake, is also eggless, and molasses is the star ingredient here. A particular brand of molasses is to be “blamed” for the first part of the name. The Shoofly Molasses was named after a circus mule called Shoofly the Boxing Mule that toured in Pennsylvania just around the time this pie came to be (the 19th century). Another theory associates the name with this pie being so sweet and attractive to everyone, including the flies.
Bubble and Squeak
This English dish, much like banana bread, is a result of the ingenuity of housewives, who wanted to make use of the shallow-fried veggies left from “last night’s roast dinner”. Although potatoes and cabbage are a must, many other veggies can make it into this recipe. The particular recipe below calls for pork sausage patties, which means that meat can also be added. Everything is fried together with mashed potatoes until brown on the sides. While the mixture is cooking, it makes an irresistible sound, the very reason why this dish is called bubble and squeak.
Behind the catchy name lies a very simple, easy to prepare sandwich. Made with ground beef, tomato sauce, onions, and cheese the sandwich originated in the United States during the early 20th century. The “sloppy” part of the name is indicative of the messy filling of this sandwich, but the “Joe” part is disputable. Several restaurants claim to be the place where Sloppy Joe was invented, with a restaurant in Sioux City, Iowa, being the most likely source. Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida, and the Sloppy Joe’s Saloon in Havana are the other 2 possible sources.
Try one of these Sloppy Joe variations
Sloppy Joe Twist
Traditional Sloppy Joe
Sloppy Joe Casserole
Beef and Been Sloppy Joe
Pigs in Blankets
These children’s favorite are not only adorable but very tasty as well. The earliest written record of these incredibly delicious treats is in Betty Crocker’s “Cooking for Kids”, and the little sausages resembling animals in a blanket are a great way of getting your kids to eat their lunch!
If you think that the Dutch baby is native to the Netherlands, you are very wrong. The name itself is a misinterpretation of the original, Deutsch Baby, which is German, for, well, “German”. As for the taste of this pancake, it is everything you ever wanted in a desert- sweet, tasty and easy to throw together. Prepare this Dutch Baby recipe and make your friends and family happy!
There you go guys, the 7 recipes with the most unusual names. So, what’s are you waiting for? Prepare one for each day of the week that follows.
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Yes, we all love going to a nice restaurant and trying delicious dishes, but when it comes to preparing food at home we don’t always have the will to cook. If you find it difficult to motivate yourselves to cook after a whole day at work, or you just don’t feel up to it, you definitely need what I call a cooking motivation boost. In fact, I can guarantee that by the time you’ve finished reading this article, you will be on the look for a new recipe to prepare today!
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Find an Amazing Food App
We live in a technology-driven world, and while we still cannot rely on robots cooking our own food, finding a good recipe app is the first step towards cooking inspiration. Even if you know how to cook, more often than not choosing what to prepare for lunch or dinner is way more difficult than the actual preparation process. Having a recipe app at hand will surely provide you with the inspiration you need. Plus, these apps have step by step instructions that newbie cooks can follow and many useful tips and ideas to make your regular dishes stand out! Have you downloaded our cooking app yet? If not, do so by clicking the links below.
MyGreatRecipes for iOS
MyGreatRecipes for Android
Go Grocery Shopping at Least Once a Week
Ideally, you could make a sort of a “week menu” and go grocery shopping in advance. This way you won’t get disappointed if the recipe you like calls for ingredients that you don’t have at home. Plus, you wouldn’t want to throw the money down the drain? Once you’ve spent money on groceries you might as well use them, right?
Make sure you prepare a list of the things you need before you head out to the supermarket. Plus, if you are not cooking that often, I will take a wild guess and say that you are not all that familiar with what you have in your pantry. So, check out whether you already have some of the ingredients in your kitchen. Say if a recipe calls for a drop or two of olive oil, and you already have it at home, buying it will be spending money in vain.
Plus, if you have a list of the things you need, you are less likely to buy anything you don’t need. Let’s face it, more often than not we end up buying something we don’t really need, just because the discount prize seemed tempting. This is especially important if you have a limited budget, or are on the look of saving money. Are you a student trying to learn your way around the kitchen? Check out our Student Guide to Efficient Cooking and learn everything there is to know about
Write it Down!
Regardless of whether you are a onetime cook, or like to cook every day, taking notes is of crucial importance. Yes, recipes have guidelines and measures, but one time out of three, you’ll see that these things are not constant. So, if you thought that one cup of flour was not enough for the bread you are baking and you decided to add a spoonful more, write it down! Forty minutes at 400° were not enough for the bread to cook through? Write it down! You swapped regular oil for olive oil and it was a success? Write it down! Next time you are to prepare your favorite recipe you will have the notes ready to guide you further. You can do this the old-fashioned way, with pen and paper, or use your smartphone as your notebook.
Find Someone to Cook With
Just like every other thing in life, cooking is way more fun when you do it with someone. Be it your mom, husband, or friend, you will be simultaneously helping each other and having a blast while doing it! If, on the other hand, you don’t think cooking WITH someone will be effective, then cooking FOR someone surely will be! Surprise your family members with dishes you’ve prepared especially for them (say your daughter’s favorite pancakes or your husband’s favorite meat cut). Do this day in day out, your loved ones’ reactions will surely motivate you to cook more often!
The Ultimate Cooking Motivation
Well, if you weren’t inspired to grab your apron and toque blanche by now, then one of these delicious recipes will surely convince you to do so! And get this: all of these recipes take 30 minutes or less, start to finish!
Italian Chicken Sandwiches
The stringy, gooey mozzarella makes these sandwiches so irresistible, they will become your new favorite! If you don’t have a tomato paste on hand, use Italian-seasoned tomato sauce instead. Feel free to enhance the flavor with basil, oregano, and any other herbs or spices you like. Plus, if another type of cheese is more to your palate, you can always replace the mozzarella with Swiss cheese or grated Parmesan cheese.
Citrus Grilled Chicken
The orange sauce and pink onions are reminiscent of a sunset, and once you’ve prepared this recipe you will start affectionately calling it sunset chicken. Oregano and cinnamon go hand in hand to make the perfect sunset chicken marinade (use ½ a teaspoon of the first and a ¼ teaspoon of the latter).
Greek Style Orzo
The flavors of this orzo bring back the traditional tastes of grandma’s cooking. Childhood memories will evoke with every bite and you will enjoy the road to memory lane. Remember, some canned chicken broths are saltier than others. So considering the salt in the broth, the salt in the butter and the salty feta, you can omit the half a teaspoon of salt until you add all the other ingredients and taste the result. If not salty enough, add more, if it’s to your taste, skip the salt altogether.
Berry Berry Parfaits
This light, sweet and rich treat will definitely become your favorite summer dessert! Parfaits can be served year-round, so you can use whatever fresh berries that are in season. During blueberry season, substitute blueberries for the strawberries. In blackberry season, freeze sweetened blackberries so you could use them instead of raspberries in the winter.
Glorious Garden Pizza
Chopped the vegetables, especially the broccoli, into small pieces so they would cook to just the right crisp-tender texture. Because the cooking time needed for broccoli can be hard to predict, cook the cut-up florets in a little water for 2 to 3 minutes, then drain and dry them before arranging them on the pizza.
Country-Style Cube Steak
Plain good cooking like this never goes out of style! But hear this, you can alter this recipe to make something very much like pepper steak with just a couple of changes. Reduce the amount of ketchup to a ¼ cup, use soy sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce, and omit the dry mustard and vinegar.
Frosty Sherbet Squares
In Italy, this dessert is made with ice-cream flavors unique to Europe, such as nougat, rice pudding, burnt almond, and hazelnut. Create a completely different dessert by substituting coffee or maple ice cream, chocolate ice cream and vanilla ice cream for the sherbets.
So, was I right? Have you started looking for the kitchenware and ingredients needed for one of these recipes? Wait, don’t start cooking just yet, I have one more thing to say to you: Happy cooking! 🙂
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