These shallots probably could have been left to grow bigger, but the neighbor’s marauding bamboo has found its way into the bed. So I had to dismantle it, and pulled up all the shallots, ready or not.
Not a bad return of investment, really. All these came from 3 shallot bulbs. Each one of them had multiplied more than 10 times, since they numbered 34 at harvest time.
The leaves were still green so I clipped some of them to use as green onion, only to find out you weren’t supposed to do that if you want to cure your shallots successfully. You were supposed to keep the leaves attached.
And you weren’t supposed to wash the bulbs. You were supposed to just lightly brush off the dirt. And then, you were supposed to leave them in a dry but shaded location, away from the sun.
Apparently, I’ve made all 3 mistakes. I cut off the leaves, wash the bulbs, and left them in the sun. I’m a bit miffed I didn’t do any research ahead of time. ‘Cause you know, who wouldn’t want to cure shallots?
Oh, well, it was a learning experience. But now that I knew these shallots wouldn’t keep for long, I decided to use them right away. I made them into roasted shallots.
and crispy fried shallots,
I just made my pickles and they’re still curing in the refrigerator right now. I figure a week from now, they should be ready. I expect these to be really good. If not, I’ll let you know. I also added garlic bulbs in mine, only because I didn’t have enough shallots to fill up the jar. Plus, I had those single garlic bulbs, remember?
1 cup shallots, peeled but left whole
2 tbsp cup red wine or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Chopped green onion & strips of lemon peel (optional, but they make the pickles look pretty)
1 tsp whole peppercorns
1. Pack shallots, green onion, and lemon rind into a clean jar.
2. Bring the vinegar, water, sugar, salt and peppercorns to a boil, until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Cool for a few minutes just so that it’s not boiling hot when it’s poured into the jar. You don’t want to cook the shallots.
3. Pour the vinegar mixture into the jar.
4. Once it’s cool, place in refrigerator and let it cure for a week.
Crispy Fried Shallots
These are good atop rice or noodle dishes, salads, and soups. I even added these to my spring roll filling.
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
1. After slicing your shallots, let them air dry for 15-30 minutes prior to frying. This will help in getting them crispy.
2. Heat oil in a skillet or a wok over medium beat.
3. Add the shallots.
4. Stir shallots to help separate them. Keep stirring, this isn’t something you can leave. You have to keep an eye on this.
5. Fry until shallots are golden, about 4-5 minutes.
6. Don’t wait until shallots are brown before removing them from the heat, because they will continue browning as they cool.
7. Drain on paper towel.
I used to make this following Ina Garten’s recipe for caramelized shallots, which is incredible, but I have since developed my own, using less butter and substituting balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar.
1 lb small shallots
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tablespoons green onion, chopped coarsely
Salt&pepper (I happened to have fleur de sel, so I used it, but I’m not sure it added anything. I think fleur de sel is meant to be sprinkled on cooked food as a finishing touch, rather than used in the cooking process.)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Fresh herbs (optional, parsley or thyme would be nice)
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. In an oven proof sauté pan, toss shallots and green onion with sugar, salt & pepper.
3. Dot with butter.
4. Place in oven, cook for 30 minutes.
5. Add vinegar and the fresh herbs (if using), cook for an additional 15 minutes or until shallots are tender and caramelized.
I’ve found a way to preserve my shallots, haven’t I? Even after I failed to cure them for storage. At least the pickles and the fried shallots will last for a while, without spoiling.
The roasted shallots, meanwhile, were already served and enjoyed, in our burgers. This, you must really try! Those shallots will instantly transform your burgers into gourmet sandwiches. They’re that good!
And if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, or a good mom like I am (patting myself on the back), and your daughter doesn’t eat burgers, you’ll make her bruschetta with her favorite the laughing cow cheese spread thickly, topped with the roasted shallots and roasted tomatoes. And then, because you’re still a good mom, and you try to encourage healthy eating, instead of serving the burgers with fries, you serve them with coleslaw instead, sans mayo, but sprinkled with crispy shallots. The verdict? Two thumbs up!