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Crispy Shallots Two Ways

I suppose it was a loaded question to ask my husband, “should I make these crispy shallots the healthy way or the good way?”

But I was hungry, and we say dumb things when we’re hungry. What I should have asked was, “should I make a snack or a meal?”

how to make crispy shallots two different ways - via www.www.goodfoodstories.com
Photo: Casey Barber

Because it’s not that one way of making crispy shallots is better than the other, it’s all about what texture you’re in the mood to crunch on.

The little buggers can be as light and ethereal as a bowl of whisper-thin potato chips or as substantially satisfying as a basket of fried shrimp, depending on how you prepare them.

how to make crispy shallots two different ways - via www.www.goodfoodstories.com
Photo: Casey Barber

And yes, one way involves pan-frying, but I won’t make you bust out the deep fryer right now.

If you’re still hesitant to heat up some cooking oil and get your fry on, consider this recipe your baby-steps introduction to the not-so-terrifying world of frying food.

Either way, you’ll start by letting the shallots luxuriate in a buttermilk bath overnight, just like Cleopatra.

Once the lactic acid has worked its magic, softening the bite of the shallots’ flavor and bringing flavor to the eventual batter, it’s time to choose the shallots’ final form.

how to make crispy shallots two different ways - via www.www.goodfoodstories.com
Photo: Casey Barber

For a full-meal basket of crispy shallots, they’ll be breaded and baked, the same way as you would prepare a chicken cutlet or fish fillet, but, you know, vegetarian.

With a craggy coating of buttermilk batter and panko, each shallot ring becomes a poppably crisp bite.

Dip them in BBQ or ranch sauce as a game-watch snack, toss them in a salad in place of grilled chicken, or float a few on top of your tomato soup or chower to boost your lunch.

crispy shallots

For a snappy, crispy appetizer or garnish, the buttermilk-and-flour-battered rings go directly into hot oil for a sizzling finish. Who can resist that shatteringly flaky crunch?

These shallots are my husband’s favorite way to top a cheeseburger, but they’ll work just as well on top of a crab cake or salmon burger.

Or take a cue from the wedge salads in these photos and pair with the crunch of iceberg lettuce and crisp bacon.

So both methods, really, are the so-called “good” way to make crispy shallots. What are you in the mood for? There’s no wrong answer.

crispy shallot salad

Crispy Shallots Two Ways

Yield: 2 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

How do you want your crispy shallots: light and ethereal like potato chips or substantially satisfying like fried shrimp? You can have them both ways, depending on your craving.

Ingredients

Shallots

  • 2 large shallots—seriously, get the big chunkers for this
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

For frying:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • kosher salt

For baking:

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel the shallots and slice into rings about 1/2 inch thick.
  2. Place in a quart-size zip-top bag or medium bowl, and pour the buttermilk over the shallots until they are submerged. You may not need all the buttermilk, depending on the size of your bag or bowl.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

To fry the shallots:

  1. Spoon the flour into a large bowl. Line a large plate or rimmed baking sheet with paper towels.
  2. Pour the oil into a high-sided, heavy-bottomed pan such as a cast-iron pan, carbon steel pan, or Dutch oven.
  3. Heat over medium heat until the oil shimmers and a pinch of flour sizzles when it hits the oil.
  4. Pull a few shallot rings out of the buttermilk, shaking gently to remove excess liquid.
  5. Dredge the shallots in the flour, shaking off excess dry flour but making sure to leave any craggy batter bits on each ring.
  6. Carefully place the shallots in the pan. Cook, flipping after 2-3 minutes to brown on each side.
  7. Transfer to the prepared plate or baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher salt.
  8. Repeat with the remaining shallots.
  9. Serve immediately.

To bake the shallots:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
  2. Create a breading station: spoon the flour into one medium bowl, whisk the egg with 1 tablespoon water in a second bowl, and pour the panko into a third bowl. Whisk the salt and pepper into the panko.
  3. Pull a few shallot rings out of the buttermilk, shaking gently to remove excess liquid.
  4. Dredge the shallots in the flour, shaking off any excess, then coat in the egg wash, then with the panko.
  5. Place the breaded shallot rings on the baking sheet and repeat until all shallots are breaded.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through the baking time, until the shallots are browned and crisp.
  7. Serve immediately.

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