Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shallot Confit

Coming up with new ideas for salads and meals when eating vegetarian during the week can be daunting for me. Sometimes I get stuck on eating salsa or pico de gallo on everything. I also over dose on pickling so many veggies the minute the hot weather hits town! Oh and do not forget my love of hot sauce- however, eating some caramelized onions with fajitas recently gave me an idea.

I have had them before on dishes in the restaurant- Shallot Confit. We had some Lustau Dry Sherry left sitting around, well when hubby is not getting into it- reminds me of the Fawlty Towers episode when the cook drinks all the sherry then passes out on the kitchen floor. Basil, the owner runs back and forth to another restaurant for food to feed the guest...

Well I decided to make some Shallot Confit to liven up salads, roasted potato tapas, and a few other dishes coming up. There are a few basic recipes on the internet and in my Spain recipe book, but you will just caramelize them like you would onions, but at the end add the sherry and oil. Keep them covered in the oil for up to a month in the fridge. Use the oil to season other dishes like a soup!

Shallot Confit with Sherry

3 pounds peeled and finely chopped shallots
sea salt
3 tablespoons sherry, use real sherry and not store bought cooking sherry, not the same flavor
Olive oil- since I do not measure and just eye things, maybe about 1 or more cups to cover shallots, and once placed in jar you will want it covered- (no need to can if you consume and use in cooking over next three or four weeks, just refrigerate)

In a medium saucepan sweat the shallots to bring out sugars, then cook the shallots in the sherry for a few minutes (alcohol will evaporate, but sherry flavor remains); add olive oil over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 15 to 20 minutes (until golden brown color)

Let mixture cool, and if more olive oil is needed add to top it off in jars.

Next post will show a few uses of the shallot confit-

Here is something I found on the internet addressing 'Kitchen/Poetic License' regarding usage of food terms that may or may not be correct, that seems a bit 'bitter', since the culinary world view has grown over the years, as chefs and cooks do as they please regarding recipes- My view is that if you see this on the internet or on a menu, then you have an idea of what they have done to an ingredient, as we all know...Shallots do not have their own 'fat', and if anyone really thinks tomatoes have their own fat, then something is wrong world...confit sounds nicer than Oiled Shallots, or Shallots in Fat, maybe Fatted Shallots might be nice...who does not love some fat...

What does ‘Confit’ Mean?

"We set the record straight!

First of all, ‘confit’ is pronounced ‘confee’. It is quite possibly the single most abused word in the culinary dictionary. Chefs ‘confit’ everything; tomatoes, aubergines, onions, fruits, coffee percolator, cuddly toy, kitchen sink, you name it and it’s on a menu at a restaurant near you.

Confit is the name given to a meat which has been cooked in its own fat and then covered and preserved in the same fat to prevent it from spoiling. That’s it.

A tomato cannot be cooked and stored in its own fat, it can be cooked and covered with olive oil (which is what they really mean) but to call it ‘confit’ is taking poetic license a little too far"- Miles Collins