This is a simple recipe for delicious roasted shallots in a sweet-tart buttery glaze. But it's also an example of how simple recipes can sometimes be tricky to nail down.
In this case, the challenge for me was the oven temperature. Everything else about this recipe is quite straightforward—the ingredients include shallots, butter, sugar, vinegar, and salt, and it was pretty easy to figure out the best ratio. The problem was, with each step in my testing process, the oven temperature that I thought would work no longer worked.
I started by trying to determine a good shallot-roasting temperature by doing a simple side-by-side test of shallots cooked at 325°F and 400°F, coating them with just some oil and salt. After that test, I concluded that something like 375°F would be the sweet spot.
But then I introduced the glaze and everything changed. Because butter contains some water, and because the vinegar also adds water to the pan, the shallots didn't brown enough at that temperature. With a little more tinkering and testing, I ended up with a recipe that works, but I encourage you to watch your shallots as they roast: if they're not getting enough color, increase the oven temperature; if they're getting too brown too fast, lower it.
It's also worth noting that this recipe works with multiple types of sugar and vinegar. I tested it with sherry vinegar, cider vinegar, and balsamic, as well as granulated sugar and demerara sugar. They all work, as, I suspect, would other options.
Here's how it all comes together.
Start by melting butter in the skillet, then add sugar and stir until dissolved.
Add the vinegar, bring to a boil, and cook until a glaze forms. Some thyme adds great flavor.
Add the shallots and stir to coat with the glaze.
Then transfer to the oven and cook until well browned and tender. It's worth mentioning that for the holidays, these can be made a day or two in advance and reheated before serving.
It's so easy your turkey could make it...that is, if your turkey weren't already waiting for its own turn in the oven.