This is a dish I first tried when I was living in Paris (I know, insane to think I went all those years before that without knowing the heaven-in-your-mouth that these are!) and they are constantly lurking in the back of my mind as something I want to cook, but whenever I go to the supermarket the shallot box is always so pitifully hidden away in a corner with only a few sad, small, shrivelling shallots scattered in it. And so I lose my inspiration. It’s strange, because as far as I know Mexico does produce a fair amount of shallots….apparently my supermarket seems to think it’s okay to sell only what’s leftover in the crates. Granted, I’ve never seen big, round, beautiful shallots as they have in France around here, and I can’t even imagine the ones they have in Asia, but I did find a few decent sized bulbs on my last trip there. And paired with a couple of rib-eye thin steaks I had in my freezer and green bean crocant salad, I finally got around to having these in the comfort of my own home. They can be served as a side dish, on top of meat or chicken, on rice, or whatever else you fancy. They could probably also be a main dish if you can find big enough shallots and are a vegetarian, I would just reduce the sugar amount a bit. And, if you find that your local supermarket is imitating mine, you can do this recipe with only very small shallots, and make a delicious sauce, which would go superbly over a few slices of turkey. (In fact…I’ll probably come back and post that sometime soon). But no more rambling, on to the recipe!
Caramelized shallots in red wine
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
25-30 med sized shallots, peeled
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sugar
Pinch or two of corn starch
Pinch of salt
In a medium sized pan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium until melted. Add the sugar and stir until fully dissolved (don’t let it brown). Add the shallots and toss them around until some of their sides are golden-brownish. Add the red wine and water and immediately turn the heat as low as it will go. Stir to make sure the caramel has dissolved into the liquids. Let them simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes, stirring them as little as possible. When they are tender and translucent, add a pinch or two of corn starch to thicken the sauce, and whisk thoroughly Add the (small!) pinch of salt. Remove from fire and serve very warm.