How to choose: Closely related to onions but milder, shallots are tear-shaped and covered with papery, copper-colored skin. Pick dry, shiny ones; avoid any with green shoots. Store in a cool, dry spot.

Preparation tips: Trim tips and base; peel away skin, separating any cloves. Mince and sprinkle raw on salads or add to sauces. Roast whole shallots with chopped apples and fresh rosemary for a sweet side dish to chicken. For the holiday table, brown whole shallots in olive oil; add equal parts port and water, plus chopped fresh herbs; cover and simmer until tender; season with salt and pepper.

Health benefits: Shallots contain quercetin, an anticancer agent, and are a good source of vitamins A and B6.

Lemon-Shallot Scallops
(Serves 4–5)

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons butter or ghee
3 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle scallops with salt and pepper. Add scallops to pan and sauté 2 minutes on each side. Remove scallops from pan and keep warm in a 200° oven.

2. Melt butter or ghee in pan. Add shallots and garlic; sauté 30 seconds. Add wine and lemon juice and cook 1 minute. Return scallops to pan; toss to coat. Remove from heat and sprinkle with parsley.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories: 195 calories
% fat calories: 26
Fat: 5g
Saturated Fat: 2g
Cholesterol: 61mg
Protein: 29g
Carbohydrate: 6g
Fiber: 0g
Sodium: 580mg

Recipe provided by James Rouse, ND, the creator of Optimum Wellness and The Fit Kitchen, seen weekly on NBC’s KUSA television news.