The French shallot comes from the same family as onions, but has a milder, sweeter flavour. They are popular in French and Asian cuisine, contain a good amount of vitamin C and are a source of dietary fibre.
2 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
4 sprigs thyme
375g sheet puff pastry
Heat oven to 200C.
In a heatproof bowl, pour boiling water over shallots, leave for 10 mins, then drain and peel.
In a frying pan, melt oil and butter, add shallots and gently fry for 10-15 mins, until soft and lightly browned.
Add vinegar, sugar and leaves from 2 thyme sprigs and stir through until caramelised. Turn off heat, add a little salt and pepper.
Tear the remaining thyme sprigs and scatter over the base of a 22cm ovenproof shallow pan, cake or tart tin (without a loose base).
Pour in the shallots and their sticky juices.
Roll out the pastry until it’s big enough to cut a 26cm-diameter circle.
Lift the pastry circle onto the shallots and tuck the edges of the pastry down the inside of the pan.
Bake for 25-30 mins until pastry is golden.
Serve with a green side salad and/or goats cheese.