The shallot is a variety of the species Allium cepa, it relatives also include the onion, garlic, chive and leek – no surprise there then. What makes this ‘little onion’ surprising is that they are not young onions which some people think but are in fact are formed in clusters with a head composed of multiple cloves – much more like their garlic cousins. They are smaller, have considerably finer layers and a much milder and sweeter flavour than the onion.
We use the crunchiest English shallots and simply preserve them in a spiced sherry vinegar to complement their sweetness and not overpower their delicate natural flavour within hours of them being peeled to retain the crunch. Delicious indoor or al fresco, with cheeses, meats, pies and quiches.