I was watching a retired Navy chief cook do a demonstration for All Clad at the local military exchange, awhile back. A member of the audience wanted to know what shallots were. Expensive onions, he replied, The French like em, he waved off.
Under the eye of two French chef instructors for a year, I probably cooked through a sack of them, mostly for sauces. I like em! Their taste is more complex, sweet and soft than onions. They take wonderfully to butter, cream, herbs and wine and can be sautéed, braised, glazed, creamed, gratinéed or caramelized to make sauces, vinaigrettes and veggie side dishes that go well with meat, poultry and fish. Thirty years ago, shallots were hard to find and were indeed expensive. They are widely available now. The variety most common at markets today is the Dutch Yellow shallot, which run about $3.00/Lb. For more information, Schneider has a fine section on shallots in Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini.
This recipe has been in my Chef’s Compendium for a year or more, marked
as one of my own. It isnt, but I do not recall from where I got the inspiration. Anyhow, these sautéed shallots in a reduction of chicken stock, vinegar and creambaked and served warmgo nicely with grilled steaks or hamburgers.
Baked Caramelized Shallots
Yield: 8 small servings
See Abbreviations, if needed
· 2T butter
· 1Lb shallots, sliced thinly
· 1C chicken stock, or broth
· 2T balsamic vinegar
· ½ C heavy cream
· 1t fresh thyme, chopped (see notes)
1. Preheat oven to 375F
2. In an oven-capable sauté pan, sweat shallots in butter
3. Add stock
4. Add vinegar, thyme, cream and S/P
5. Reduce under low heat to thicken (see notes)
6. Bake uncovered until top is crusted, about 45 minutes
7. Serve with grilled meats
Notes: Substitute tarragon for thyme and you have the same flavoring as in a Sauce Béarnaise. Upon completion of Step 5, the shallots can be transferred to and baked in a nice baking dish for a more suitable table presentation, if desired.