Shallots are one the Alliums that I don't tend to use very often - unless I'm making a Béarnaise or perhaps a red wine sauce. I do enjoy their milder onion flavour and I love the crunch of deep fried shallots but that's not quite a good enough reason to buy them more frequently. Though, I think this recipe will be changing that.
I was skimming through the pages of Mr Wilkinson's Favourite Vegetables by Matt Wilkinson when I came upon a recipe for pickled shallots and while the ingredients were interesting, I was most attracted by the fact that this is a quick pickle, only needing a few hours to cure. I have fiddled a little with the recipe but I think it stays true to the original.
60mls rice wine vinegar
45mls apple cider vinegar
15mls sherry vinegar
100 grams caster sugar
shallots, finely sliced
As this cures so quickly there's no need to make lashings of pickle - this quantity of liquid is enough for 3 or 4 shallots (depending on size) and will fill a 250ml jar.
Place the vinegars, water, sugar and a good pinch of sea salt into a pot and simmer over a medium heat - stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let it bubble away for a few minutes to reduce slightly.
Put the sliced shallots into a heat proof bowl and pour over with the hot syrup. Stir briefly and then cover loosely and allow to cool.
When cooled place the shallots and the pickling liquid into a jar and seal - keep in the fridge. If you can stop yourself from eating these all at once, they should keep for about a week.
This is a pretty delicious pickling liquid and I've already experimented with pickling finely sliced beetroot and carrots and had great success. These pickle shallots found themselves a good home in these cuttlefish bocadillos.