Echalions AKA Banana Shallot

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I was very exciting when I found this shallots in local supermarket and it is rare! It also known as Echalions, Shallot Figaro, or scientific name Allium cepa of Aggregatum Group. Commonly know as Banana Shallot.

Echalion taking Britain’s kitchens by storm.  This versatile British vegetable, which is a cross between an onion and a shallot, has become the darling of professional kitchens, celebrities chef all over the country because it is so easy to prepare.  And now the secret is out and echalions have found their way onto our supermarket shelves.

They 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.

Top Michelin-starred chef Tom Aikens, chef/patron of Restaurant Tom Aikens in London explains: “The versatile Echalion can add a subtle hint of flavour or be the main ingredient for any recipe calling for shallots. They are perfect for braising with meats, roasting with vegetables or with soups. Finely chop and add to broths and sauces, or sauté with mushrooms”, says Tom

British grown echalions are usually available from September to Mid-May.  They are grown in the Eastern counties of Britain (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk) where the sandy soil and warmer temperatures provide the ideal growing conditions.

There is no particular reason why you can’t use the banana shallots instead of onions, though they are not a substitute for red onions. You may also find that you need 2 banana shallots instead of a regular onion due to the size difference and milder taste. However they are more expensive than onions and if a strong allium taste is required then you may prefer to use regular onions. You can also substitute banana shallots with regular shallots – just use 2 regular shallots for 1 banana shallot, and do cook slightly more quickly than regular white or yellow onions.

To make it easy to peel, you could cut the root end off and blanche in boiling water for 3 minutes then grip firmly from the ‘leaf-end’ and squeeze the shallot out of its skin – holding with a cloth helps.

Pasta with Sherry white sauce

P1150844AAPasta is one of those versatile ingredient you could ever think of. I used up the leftover sauce from my previous post of Chicken with morel & sherry wine sauce to make this delicious golden creamy pasta for my dinner of one.

I don’t need to tell you how to cook the pasta, you can have fresh pasta or dried pasta from supermarket, for the cooking timing you should refer to the packet.

After remove the cold sherry sauce from the fridge leave it to the room temperature before you adding other ingredient.

Ingredient

  1. Cook the pasta into salted boiling water.
  2. Pour the sauce into saucepan and then bring it to simmer.
  3. In a clean bowl put in the egg yolks, olive oil, salt, black pepper, then use fork to whisk it together.
  4. When the sauce is smoking a little bit, and simmer at side of the pan you could pour the egg mixture into this sauce, use a whisk to lightly whisk it to avoid any lump of the egg yolks.
  5. When all mix up, remove it from the heat, then tip in the cooked pasta into the sauce, give it a good stir to coat the pasta. Serve.

If you like any herbs to go on top just simply cut some fresh herb on top or you can enjoy as it is. Why this leftover so great, that is because the rich juices from the chicken, butter, mushroom, and other ingredient from my previous post (Chicken with morel & sherry wine sauce) had flavoured the sauce, so nothing much you need for that. This is what I love about leftover.