Unlike onions where each plant normally forms a single bulb, shallots form clusters of offsets, rather in the manner of garlic.
Shallots are extensively cultivated and much used in cookery, in addition to being pickled. Finely sliced deep-fried shallots are used as a condiment in Asian cuisine. Shallots tend to be considerably more expensive than onions, especially in the United States.
Pickling onions and shallots in M&B Distributors, Outwell
Echalion or Banana shallots are a cross between a shallot and an onion. They are larger than a normal shallot, being larger in girth and also longer.
Sometimes people confuse the shallots with echalion but taxonomically Echallion is Allium Cepa like onion and Shallot is Allium Aggregatum
Top Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens, chef/patron of Restaurant Tom Aikens in London explains: “Echalion, also known as Banana Shallot, are easier to peel than a traditional shallot. Echalion is the result of a subtle mixture of the intrinsic qualities of the onion and the shallot. From each one, the Echalion has retained only best qualities. These large, oval bulbs have amber-coloured skin that can be peeled back to reveal juicy, white meat that combines the ease of an onion with the sweet, subtle flavour of a shallot."
Easy ways to peel shallots
Cut the root end off and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes
Grip firmly from the 'leaf-end' and squeeze the shallot out of its skin - holding with a cloth helps
Shallots are a fiddle to peel and because they are so small to start with, there tends to be a relatively large amount of waste when preparing them. The easy way is to blanch in boiling water for a 2 or 3 minutes first, cut the root off, grip firmly from the 'leaf-end' and squeeze the shallot out of its skin.
We have lots of pickling recipes here.
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