leek – Both the white bulb and tender parts of the green can be used. To clean leeks, cut off the root end and the tough part of the leaves. Slit from top to bottom and wash under cold running water, separating layers to remove dirt and grit. Use leeks in vinaigrettes, soups and gratins. They can stand alone as a side dish, braised or sautéed.
green onion – Green onions are young plants harvested when the onion bulb is small. The green leaves are tender and usually mild, sometimes used as a raw garnish in salads and on baked potatoes. The leaves and bulbs can also be sautéed, grilled or stir-fried.
yellow onion – The most common onion, preferred for its strong, intense, sweet flavor and its ability to turn a rich, dark brown color when cooked. It gives French onion soup its sweet full flavor.
red onion – Red onions are mild and sweet enough to eat raw. They tend to be medium to large in size and are often used to add color to salads and other dishes. They may lose their color when cooked, but when grilled or sautéed they reveal a sweet caramel flavor.
white onion – White onions are the traditional onion used in Mexican cuisine. They are often called for in dishes in which yellow onions would be too strong. Like the yellow and red, the white onion should be stored in a cool, dry, well-ventilated place – not in the refrigerator, where they are prone to mold.
shallot – Like garlic, shallots grow with a head made up of cloves wrapped in a thin papery skin. The flavor of the shallot is milder than that of onions, and typically used as a seasoning. They add zest to vinaigrettes and sauces.
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