[Ronna Welsh shared sustainable ways of wasting less in the kitchen with The Splendid Table. She breaks down an apple into four acts: Apple Core Agrodolce, Shallot Apple Core Agrodolce, Apple Core Mostarda and Apple Core Bourbon.]
This is perhaps one of the most assertive, yet versatile ways to serve the simple shallot.
Apple Core Agrodolce turns seared shallots into something that both emboldens a bowl of soft, warm polenta, and tames gamey meat. Coarsely chopped, it turns into a condiment all its own, with a several week shelf life.
Agrodolce is an Italian sweet and sour sauce. Here, we cook shallots slowly with Apple Cores Agrodolce, until they are soft and syrupy. You may eat them warm straight out of the pan, or serve them cold. Store in refrigerator.
Peel shallots. Trim, keeping stem end intact. If extra large, cut shallots in half, lengthwise. They should all be of relatively equal size.
Heat medium saute pan on high heat for one minute. Add oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. The oil should quickly want to smoke. Immediately add shallots, cut side down, and turn heat to medium-high. Cook shallots, letting them rest in place, until they are each nutty brown. Turn them over, one by one, to sear the other side.
Once well browned, 8 to 10 minutes, add salt and agrodolce. Stir well, turn heat to low. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until each shallot is completely tender and the sauce reduces to a syrup, about 20 to 30 minutes.
*Two bulbs of shallots often grow from the same stem. So what, exactly, does “one” shallot mean? For PKale recipes, twin shallots counts as two, as long as each is reasonably large. Where one shallot appears to piggy back on another, I take the smaller for a half.
From Ronna Welsh, Purple Kale Kitchenworks.
Richard Wrangham, a professor at Harvard University and author of Catching Fire, studies the role of cooking in human evolution. "Once you start thinking about the importance of cooking -- its supply of energy, its strange distribution compared to natural foods -- it's bound to have affected our evolution hugely, our behavior, our society, our cognition, all sorts of features about us," he says.