Earthy, flavorful caramelized shallots make a wonderful side dish to meat. They are buttery and delicious and quite easy to make. Leftovers are good too! I like them in an omelet.
The flavor profile of this dish is so complex and interesting. It's always amazing to me how cooking changes onions, and this is true for shallots too, of course. Any hint of sharpness is gone, and instead, you get this wonderful, creamy sweetness. It's like magic!
I lightly adapted this recipe from Ina Garten's recipe. It's a simple recipe. Fresh shallots are roasted in butter and balsamic vinegar until caramelized into a unique, intense flavor experience. Roasting really brings out the natural sweetness of the shallots.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this tasty shallots recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
Unsalted butter: I love using European butter, it's so flavorful. But any butter will be great.
Peeled whole shallots: You can find shallots in the supermarkets right next to the onions. Whole Foods sells a very convenient bag of peeled shallots. You'll need two of those for this recipe.
Balsamic vinegar: Its relatively high sugar content helps the shallots brown.
To season: Kosher salt and black pepper.
Caramelized shallots are very easy to make! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
Your very first step is to cook the shallots in butter in an ovenproof skillet until browned.
Next, you remove the skillet from the heat and allow it to slightly cool. Now you add the vinegar, salt, and pepper. Then turn the shallots in the sauce to coat them.
Now, transfer the skillet to a 400°F preheated oven and bake the shallots until they are fork-tender. This should take about 20 minutes, and I like to flip them midway through roasting.
Time to eat! Spoon the yummy cooking liquid on top of the shallots and serve them.
Much like sauteing onions, patience is key. So when you brown the shallots in the skillet, keep the heat on medium, and don't be tempted to turn it up. You want the shallots to slowly brown and caramelize.
Frequently asked questions
Shallots are a member of the allium family, just like onions and garlic. But they are noticeably milder than onions, and their flavor is richer and sweeter. I actually like them better than onions.
balsamic vinegar is darker and more syrupy than red wine vinegar, which is lighter and more liquid. It is also noticeably sweeter. That's why it's so useful at helping us to caramelize food.
Caramelizing usually involves cooking the food low and slow, allowing the natural sugars to break down into simple sugars. The result is a browned, sweet-tasting dish. This happens with shallots, and it also happens with onions.
One way to change this recipe up is to use ghee (clarified butter) instead of butter. The results will be similar, but ghee has a nutty flavor that I really like in this dish.
One more thing that I sometimes do is to add a bit of garlic powder. I sprinkle it on the shallots together with the salt and pepper.
These shallots are very versatile. They make a wonderful side dish to any meat. I often serve them as a side to beef tenderloin roast. They are also good with baked pork chops, pan-seared pork medallions, and grilled chicken tenders.
Leftovers keep well in the fridge, in an airtight container, for 3-4 days. Gently reheat them in the microwave on 50% power prior to serving.
This is one of those recipes where the leftovers truly taste good - almost as good as the freshly made dish. I sometimes chop them up and mix them into an omelet the next day for my breakfast, with a bit of shredded gruyere cheese. Yum!
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- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 lb. fresh whole shallots peeled (6 medium shallots)
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a large oven-proof skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots, flat side down.
- Cook, turning occasionally, until the shallots are browned, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let it slightly cool. Drizzle the vinegar on top of the shallots, then sprinkle them with kosher salt and black pepper. Toss the shallots to coat them in the pan liquids.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven. Roast the shallots for 10 minutes, flat side down. Carefully turn them to the other side and keep roasting until they are deeply browned and fork-tender (and smell amazing!), about 10 more minutes.
- Divide the shallots between plates, spoon the pan sauce on top, and serve. You can garnish them with parsley if you wish.