These caramelized shallots from Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, are made by roasting shallots low and slow in butter, sugar, and vinegar until softened and sweet and tangy. An exceptional and impressive side dish for any occasion.
Shallots take on a dulcet, docile personality when slowly coaxed to caramelized. And not only are they easy to make and charming on the table, they’re easygoing in terms of playing nicely with all manner of main courses. Including your Thanksgiving turkey as well as your Tuesday night roast.–Renee Schettler
Barefoot Contessa Caramelized Shallots
- 6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter
- 2 pounds shallots peeled*, roots intact
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons really good red wine vinegar (or substitute sherry vinegar)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- In a 12-inch (30-cm) ovenproof sauté pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the shallots and sugar and toss to coat. Cook over medium heat, tossing occasionally, until the shallots start to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add the vinegar, salt, and pepper and toss well. Place the pan or skillet in the oven and roast until the shallots are tender, 15 to 50 minutes, depending on the size of the shallots. Immediately transfer the shallots to a platter or serving dish. (Don't worry about the variance in cooking temperature, if the shallots are done before the rest of dinner, transfer them to a plate, hold at room temperature, and then slide them back into the oven for just a few minutes to warm.)
- Just before serving, season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parsley.
*What you need to know about how to demurely disrobe shallotsShallots are, thankfully, far easier to disrobe from their clingy papery skins than other diminutive alliums, such as pearl onions. Still, we won’t say no to shortcuts when it comes to stripping shallots, especially when in the throes of dinner party prep. So we want to share what the lovely Barefoot Contessa has to say on the topic. She drops whole unpeeled shallots in a pot of boiling water for just shy of a minute, then drains them. The skins can then slip off with the utmost of ease. Furthermore, the good Contessa continues, you can peel the shallots hours in advance and later, when you’re juggling everything else, simply give them a quick sauté before tossing them in the oven. How easy is that?
Recipe Testers' Reviews
I’ve always loved shallots, whether as an ingredient in salad dressing or lightly sautéed with mushrooms or even as a stand-alone vegetable. They’re simply wonderful! I tend to have the ingredients for these caramelized shallots on hand, making this a great spur-of-the-moment recipe.
Another plus of this recipe is the minimal prep time. I used fairly small shallots, so the total time was less than 40 minutes. I had a beautiful red wine vinegar from Spain that brought additional depth to the dish, enhancing the roasted flavor of the alliums. I served this with roasted chicken and a fresh butter lettuce salad.
The yield was correct, but I think everyone would have eaten more if they could. No leftovers here. This will appear again on the holiday table.
Shallots are quite possibly my favorite member of the allium family. Mild in flavor, shallots are a wonderful addition to just about any dish that calls for onions and boy do they caramelize nicely! I loved this dish.
In a recipe like this one that has minimal ingredients, I try to use the best ingredients I possible can! I really liked the combination of first caramelizing the shallots in butter with sugar in the sauté pan, then transferring the whole thing into a hot oven to roast until tender. t worked very well and after only 15 minutes in the oven my shallots were tender and a lovely shade of brown.
I served it over peppery watercress as a simple side dish alongside a balsamic-rosemary pork loin and garlic mashed potatoes. I would be curious to try this recipe with peeled pearl onions as well. This could really be a lovely addition to a holiday menu!
Originally published May 9, 2004