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Celebrate shallots

The British shallot season is a relatively short one, from July-September. But why give them any credit at all? Shallot are just small onions, right? Wrong, as our shallot recipes and facts show.

  • Shallots aren’t just little onions, but a species in their own right – namely Allium ascalonicum, which refers to their origins in Ashkelon, in modern-day Israel, some 5,000 years ago. Like onions, garlic and leeks, they are members of the allium family.
  • One of the best varieties is the elongated échalote grise, also known as the banana or demi-longue shallot. Nearly all are white, with hardly any of the pinky-mauve flashes of the rounded variety.
  • The best place to keep shallots is in the fridge, preferably in a paper bag to let them breathe.
  • To save on peeling time, cover them with boiling water for 10 minutes or so, then simply rub off the outer brown skin.
  • Shallots have a high sugar and low water content, so when they’re sautéed nice and slow, they caramelise far better than onions.
  • Enjoy them raw, chopped and tossed through salads or in salad dressings; as the starting point for a stir-fry; coated in honey and olive oil and roasted whole; or threaded on to kebabs.

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