Allium Plants Add Disease-Thwarting and Age-Avenging Properties


Allium Family of Plants

Exploring different vegetable choices can really help make one's cooking repertoire more sophisticated without changing the methods very much.  Onions are a basic, core part of the recipes of much of the world, and that includes the Mediterranean.  Use of onion or onion family vegetables adds aromatic qualities to the foods that contain them.  Varieties of vegetables in the onion or Allium family include chives, garlic, white onions, yellow onions, red onions, shallots, leeks and scallions or green onions.  Ramps are a wild type of allium. 

All of these vegetables have a variety of uses.  Garlic is used in cuisines worldwide, and contribute to each region in its own way.  Green onions or scallions are used to add a fresh onion-y green note to the top of dishes, and isn't meant to be heavily cooked.  White onions are prized for their strong onion flavor and their ability to stand up to long cooking.  This family includes pearl and boiling onions.  Yellow onions include sweet varieties such as Vidalia, and are prized for use in caramelization.  Shallots offer a sophisticated combination of onion and garlic flavors for sauces.  Mild leeks make beautiful soups, and are lovely cooked in a wide range of ways.

Mirepoix is a famous combination, a cooking term known to chefs worldwide.  Made famous by French chefs, it is a core staple among dishes far outside the borders of France, in one form or another.  Two parts onion, one part celery, and one part carrot, chopped roughly, and sauteed, a mirepoix forms the spine of soups, stews, and braised dishes of all sorts.  Tweaked just a bit, an onion, celery, green pepper combo is used to make Cajun cuisine what it is today.  Tweaked in a Spanish fashion (sofrito), a combination of onions, garlic, and tomato, is used in many dishes in a similar way.  Sofrito won its fame as a part of paella... it forms the base of flavors where beasts of land and sea form the crown on top of that glorious golden pan.  

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