Caramelized shallots are mesmerizing with their sweet, salty, and ever so slightly tangy flavor. They are one of my go-to side dishes in the winter.
This is my take on the Barefoot Contessa’s shallot recipe. Over the years I’ve stopped looking at hers and have made it from memory. It’s funny how memories can play tricks on you because I realized that I’ve made several changes to her recipe over time without even thinking about it. I’ve replaced her red wine vinegar with balsamic; used less butter and sugar (no surprise there!); and switched out the herbs to those that I feel better accompany the dish.
Regardless, these caramelized shallots have a deep and lasting flavor with a fragrance that is unabashedly welcoming. As delicious as they are own their own as a side dish, they are also satisfying used in a sandwich. I recently served mine with a dinner of braised pork shoulder and butternut squash (the very last one from our 2021 garden). The next day’s lunch was a sandwich of leftover pork with a big, caramelized shallot sliced and spread over thick crusted bread. Yummmm!
Arliano Update (Aggiornamento Arliano):
Renovations on our house are finally about to start! Heating and cooling systems will be installed in our rental apartment below our main house, and a pump and water purifier will be installed to the well that’s been dug, but never activated. Work is expected to last about 3-4 weeks (we’ll see if this holds true…) and then we move down into that apartment while work begins on the main house (which, in all likelihood, will take 4-6 months if all goes well). Meanwhile the vegetable garden is dormant, but daffodils continue to spring up and bloom in the most curious places.
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- 1-pound (16 ounces) shallots (about 6 or 7 large shallots)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon regular granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400F (200C)
- Peel, then trim the root end of the shallots. If the shallots are very large, cut them in half lengthwise, otherwise leave them whole (but keep a part of the root so that the shallots remain intact)
- In an oven proof skillet or saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once melted, stir in the shallots and the sugar. Cook for about 10 minutes or until they are golden brown. Mix in the herbs, if using
- Transfer the skillet or saucepan to the oven. If you have a splatter screen, I’d advise you to use it over the pan. Roast for 20 minutes
- Before serving, spoon the butter and vinegar from the pan or skillet over the caramelized shallots and season with salt and pepper to taste