Okay, it's not officially a guest question--no one wrote in and asked 'could you research this for me?' But it did come up as a question on another blog, and as I didn't actually know, I thought it would be a good one to look into. I did think I knew more or less what a shallot was, but the reference to something being served on a "bed of shallots" threw me.
A shallot is an onion, right? Some form of it, anyway. How it differs from scallions or leeks, I really have no idea. And why it would be a good idea to serve anything on a bed of onions eludes me. But I'm going to give this all a go...
Actually, according to wikipedia, it is a form of cloning, the 'offsets' containing the same genetic material as the mother plant. I'm not sure then why all shallots aren't identical, but that is probably another topic.
Bashelon--Hebrew Language Detective tells more about onions in relation to that ancient city, and even cites a few classical references. It also tells you why the name Ashkelon might sound familiar.
What questions of an alliumal nature remain? Well, I still don't know why anyone in their right mind would serve anything on a bed of shallots.
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6 hours ago