Monday, April 14, 2008

caramelized shallots

caramelized shallots

This is one of those dishes where I want to tell you to stop everything and make these right now, but then I remember that I already said that this week, last week, the week before and a few other times in between. If I keep saying this, I’ll be like the girl who cried … cook! and nobody will take me seriously when a truly transcendent recipe comes across this page. Like today. So let’s just suffice to it so that this is a frighteningly good recipe and an excellent way to handle the early spring disappointment of a farmers’ market providing you nothing but onions and tubers. Instead you can caramelize shallots!


Now, I think we already know that caramelized onions are the bees’ knees but these are even more spectacular and that is because of the vinegar that is glugged in, which gives it a slight tang raising the sweet-salty butteriness to a “I will never eat anything else for the rest of my life” experience. And yes, there is a good bit of butter in this dish, enough that when I made it the first time a few years ago I skimped on it, the shallots stuck to the bottom of that pan and I was consumed with regret. Not this time, though. Rest assured that almost all of the butter stays in the baking dish, and does not cling to the shallots–and us, one hopes–in more than a barely-there layer.

shallots, peeled

But here is where I need to beg, no implore you to DO NOT DO what I did (and would have regretted had I a place in my psyche that was capable of feeling remorse over butter) which is to dip a single tine of your fork, or to even consider such an action, into that tangy buttery puddle in the bottom of the pan. This is a highly inadvisable action, as it will set off a trance-like reaction in which one must dip again, and again and instantly mute all thoughts of But This is Tremendously Unhealthy. Your safest bet is not to do this at all, even once.

And yes, I know that means it is exactly what you will now do, and I’m sorry. But you can’t say that I didn’t warn you.

shallot skins

Make Me Keep This Promise: My next post will be about Passover dessert recipes. I have so many in mind, it would unfair not to reel them off to you and try out at least one before this weekend. For those of you who don’t celebrate Passover, fear not, these desserts are worthy of a year-round repertoire.

One Year Ago: The Tart Marg

Caramelized Shallots
Adapted from Ina Garten

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 pounds fresh shallots, peeled, with roots intact
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch ovenproof* saute pan, add the shallots and sugar, and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until the shallots start to brown. Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper and toss well.

Place the saute pan in the oven and roast for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size of the shallots, until they are tender. Season, to taste, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.

* If yours, like mine, is not ovenproof, it works to start this dish in your frying pan then scrape the shallots and sauce into a baking dish when it’s ready to go in the oven.


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