Every now and again, I became so taken with a particular ingredient that I don't seem to be able to cook without it. In fact, if you take a close look at my books you will see, for instance, why one of my oldest friends calls How to Eat, the rhubarb, Marsala and frozen pea cookbook and Forever Summer, the mint and lemon cookbook. I always rather felt that Express could be taken as one long love letter to the spring onion, and now, my fancy has not fallen so very far afield: the object of my affections is the banana shallot. Actually, this is no new love affair: I came across this super-useful allium many years ago, but you used to have to go to a speciality greengrocer to find them. Now, I get them at my local supermarket under a more grown-up name, Eschalion shallots.
The point about these is that rather than being compact and round, they have a long, tapering shape, which means that they are not much more of a fiddle to peel and chop than slicing a few spring onions - and the flavour is so sweet and deep and oniony without the pungency that any (savoury) dish benefits from their addition. That's all I have to say really: I couldn't bear not sharing my joyful enthusiasm a minute longer!
Posted by Nigella on the 24th Jan 2012