Banana shallots are large bulbs, averaging 10 to 18 centimeters in length, and have an elongated shape with tapered, pointed ends. The bulb is encased in a papery, outer layer that is smooth and ranges in color from tan, light pink, to grey-brown. Once the brittle layer is removed, the surface of the bulb is firm, and there may be multiple cloves fused together, tinged with purple or green hues depending on the specific variety. Within the cloves, the flesh is ivory to white, crisp, and multi-layered. Banana shallots have a flavor reminiscent of both onions and garlic, but the taste is much milder with subtle sweet notes.
Banana Shallots are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as roasting, sauteing, frying, and stewing. When raw, the cloves can be finely chopped and tossed into salads or blended into oil-based dressings. Banana shallots can also be cooked and lightly caramelized to add sweet and subtle flavors to soups, curries, and stews, minced and cooked into sauces, lightly sauteed in vegetable stir-fries, or braised with cooked meats. In addition to cooked preparations, the shallots can be pickled whole for extended use.
Store shallots in a dark, cool, dry, well-ventilated place, and they will keep for about a month.