November 12, 2008

Caramelized Shallots


I remember quite clearly the episode of Barefoot Contessa in which Ina makes these. She is there, as always, in her rambling white kitchen with her oh-so shiny bob and sharp button down with a gleaming All-Clad sauté pan going on about these caramelized shallots. All though, to be fair, Ina doesn’t really go on, she simply declares something “fabulous” in that calming voice of hers and instantly I want it, even before Jeffrey or her natty florist can concur.

But I go through life collecting recipes, imagining the ideal scenario in which this delight will be cooked, and in reality, eating a lot of beans and rice. Sometimes it takes a second push for a recipe to edge its nose into my sightline. This time, I have Deb to thank, who made Ina’s caramelized shallots and deemed them a “frighteningly good recipe.

All I have to show for the weekend are these shallots. They are, indeed, frighteningly good. And as I was peeling one purple skin after another, I channeled my best happily relaxed Ina impression, listening to my new favorite “music to cook to” record. The best days of reality are when fantasy shows up, totally unexpectedly.

Caramelized Shallots
Ina Garten
Serves 4

3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound fresh shallots, peeled, with roots intact
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons good red wine vinegar
1 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a 12-inch ovenproof saute pan, add the shallots and
sugar, and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, tossing
occasionally, until the shallots start to brown. Add the vinegar, salt,
and pepper and toss well.

Place the saute pan in the oven and roast for 15 to 30 minutes,
depending on the size of the shallots, until they are tender. Season,
to taste, sprinkle with parsley, and serve hot.

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  • Ruth: Sarah–your humility about reality always tickles me, as we live in a time when people either strive to BE Martha, or succumb to slotheness. (is that a word?) I like being in the company of those who keep it real, but celebrate those moments when delight and ability actually come together. Have a great week!
    7 years ago

  • sarah: Ruth, wow, thank you, that’s a great compliment. I’ll never be Martha — I like pajamas, takeout, and 9 hours of sleep way too much — but I love when there is space in the everyday for something a little special, be that the handmade or the homemade or the barista just being especially nice. I hope you have a great week, too!
    7 years ago

  • EB: You want your mind blown? Throw a few leeks in with the shallots next time. I promise.
    7 years ago

  • Alicia Kachmar: You know what! I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with shallots. Maybe I’ll make that part of my farmer’s market meal this weekend. :) I just love the sound of the word “caramelized.” Mmmmm.
    7 years ago

  • sarah: EB, Yes, I think I do want my mind blown, in fact, if it involved caramelized leeks. Brilliant idea.

    Alicia, Yes, DO make these part of your farmer’s market meal. What a way to show off a veggie!
    7 years ago

  • Sara Rose: How does Martha even have the time in one day to get all the things done that she does? It’s exhausting to even think about, my goodness!

    I love caramelized shallots- my ma makes them with balsamic vinegar instead and also with big cloves of garlic that get caramelized too, and serves them with a big bunch of homemade beer bread to eat them on- it makes a good appetizer or side to something roasted.
    7 years ago

  • sarah: Sara Rose, Yeah, I know, I’m pooped just thinking about it. I think she sleeps, like, 5 hours a night and probably never just sits and stares into the middle distance like some people (ahem). The way you’re mom makes them sounds amazing — I want some beer bread, stat!
    7 years ago

  • geek+nerd: Ina=Love! She does have that easy breezy, you can totally have this fabulous food by lifting your pinky finger appeal about her, huh? Sometimes I really miss cable, simply for the Food Channel!
    7 years ago

  • sarah: I bet you’ve found yourself with a lot more free time, though, without the tele demanding your attention with one cooking show after another! :)
    7 years ago

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