Until recently, I kind of pretended that the shallot didn’t exist. If I saw it on a recipe, I’d chop some onions up small (since that’s the main difference between onions and shallots, right? They’re smaller?) and keep going. I didn’t know what they were, and wasn’t particularly interested in learning. And then, a dear friend brought a bag of them home from the produce market, so I started hunting for recipes.
I learned thanks to shallots.com that there is a difference between onions and shallots (beside their size): they are a whole different species, actually. They have a surprising amount of protein, Vitamin C and potassium, as well as antioxidants. To get the most health benefits, you’re supposed to eat them raw. But I would guess that’s also the best way to lose friends and avoid kisses. Here’s where my ears started to perk: shallots are sweeter and more flavorful than onions, which means they carmelize faster. Carmelized, now that starts to sound interesting.
Turning to smitten kitchen, I found this recipe for caramelized shallots that she promised would change our lives. And it did. (well, I plan to buy shallots now; that’s a change) The recipe is very simple and probably one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted. They were sliced and tossed into a salad, and later used as a side for chicken. My tweak to her recipe was using balsamic instead of wine vinegar, which we didn’t have on hand.
Do beware, as she warns in her recipe, of the caramelized puddle of salty-sweet-toasted-butter at the bottom of the pan. Its dangerous stuff, for sure.