Recently my real man brought home a small bag of shallots (he’s so romantic!) which were reputedly almost past their best before date.
I removed the plastic bag so they could breath put them in my basket of various onions and forgot about them for about a week. When I remembered them they were still in prime condition so I decided to glaze them.
~ Don’t peel the shallots just remove any loose papery skins.
~ Put the shallots into a small pan, cover with boiling water and simmer for 2-3 minutes. This has two useful effects:
1. the skin is now easier to remove and doesn’t make you cry.
2. the shallots are slightly cooked so the rest of the process takes less time.
~ Drain and rinse.
~ Now peel them. If you cut off the stalk end and squeeze gently from the root end the shallot should slide out but this is a tiny weeny bit wasteful!
~ Heat a tablespoon of oil in a pan large enough to hold the shallots in one layer and sauté them, shaking and tossing from time to time till they are turning golden.
~ Add a light sprinkling of caster sugar, a little salt and enough hot water to just cover.
~ Simmer till tender when pierced with a sharp knife. If you run out of water before they are tender add a little more, if they are tender before you run out of water increase the heat and continue to cook, shaking the pan till there is just a little sticky goo left.
~ It’s a nice idea to add either a glass of “leftover” red wine or a splash of balsamic vinegar towards the end of cooking and simmer till it is reduced to almost nothing. I chose red wine this time.
The first thing I made with my glazed shallots was a rather lovely pizza. Instead of a tomato sauce on the base I used an abstemious amount of balsamic glaze and the topping was simply glazed shallots, lovely St. Agur cheese and lots of black pepper.
Then, last night, I made myself a delicious dinner using a small piece of fillet steak which had been reduced from £2.50 to £1.53 so I’m not being extravagant here. I cut it into strips and sautéed half of them with some of the shallots, deglazed the pan with red wine and served it on top of fried mash. Awfully good and I think this must have cost me about 90p or so!
The other half of the steak? I marinated ready for a Bulgogi tomorrow night.
I still had four shallots and some oddments plus a small piece of St. Agur.
What would you do? I made a ...
I creamed the cheese with about twice as much softened butter, added the shallots, coarsely chopped, plus a little salt (the cheese and the butter being already salty) a lot of pepper. This will be great on steak, in jacket potatoes or to make hot flavoured bread, like garlic bread only different.
Flavoured butter is an excellent way of using up small quantities of all sorts of leftovers; (see here for an earlier post on the subject) and this is a good way to store it …
~ Spread a square of clingfilm or baking parchment onto the counter.
~ Scrape the soft and tasty butter into sausage about 30mm from and parallel to one edge.
~ Lift that edge and use the film or parchment to roll and shape the butter into a cylinder.
~ When satisfied roll the butter in the rest of the clingfilm and twist the ends to secure.
~ Chill or freeze until needed.
~ Use a hot knife to slice cold or frozen butters.
By the way, if you are thinking that a bag of cheap shallots isn't’t that romantic – think again, he also bought me these!
... and three of these!
I’ll let you know how I get on with them.