Shallots have clusters of cloves that develop from a common base, with short, small, hollow leaves. Their brown-to-golden paper-thin skins protect a violet-and-white flesh similar to onions, although they are milder and more aromatic than other onions and are popular with chefs. As with onions, shallots can be eaten raw or cooked; cooked shallots taste more subtle than onions. Serve raw in salads or cooked into a sauce to flavor various meats. Shallots are available year-round from European markets, Australia and Mexico and during spring through fall in the U.S. from New Jersey and New York.