In Italy, this method of cooking vegetables in vinegar and sugar is known as agrodolce. It works particularly well with shallots, underpinning their natural sweetness. You can eat these warm – alongside roast pork, perhaps, or even on toast – but they’re also great at room temperature and served with ham, milky mozzarella or a chunk of Cheddar.
- Prepare15 mins
- Cook1 hr 5 mins
- Total time1 hr 20 mins
- 800g echalion shallots
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Pinch dried chilli flakes
- 6 bay leaves
- 3 clove/s garlic, thinly sliced
- 4 tbsp caster sugar
- 100ml cider vinegar
- 2 sprig/s thyme, leaves picked
- 1 tsp fine salt
- 4 tbsp currants or raisins
Leave the skins on the shallots and lightly trim the root ends so they still hold together. Put in a heatproof bowl and pour over a kettle of boiling water. Leave to steep for 5 minutes, then drain well and peel of the skins using a small sharp knife.
In a large, lidded sauté pan, heat the oil, chilli flakes and bay leaves. Add the shallots and cook for 6-8 minutes over a medium heat until lightly browned. Stir in the garlic, then add the sugar, cider vinegar, thyme and salt. Bubble for minutes, then stir in the currants or raisins and 150ml water. Return to the boil, cover, turn down the heat to low and cook for 35-40 minutes, turning the shallots halfway through, until soft.
Remove the lid, turn up the heat a little and bubble for 8-10 minutes more, until the juices turn syrupy. Season with black pepper, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Pile onto a serving platter, spooning the juices and currants over the top.
Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe