When I first started watching cooking shows, I noticed that many of the chefs used shallots. I wondered why they bothered; after all, I thought, shallots were just tiny onions. I avoided them for years, thinking them a frivolous ingredient. I don’t remember why, but one day I decided to pick some up at the Farmer’s Market — and I was wrong about them. Sure, they are similar to onions, but with a much milder, almost sweet flavor. I actually prefer them to onions in most sauces, because they lend that nice onion flavor without the sharpness of onions.