Why It Works
- Slicing shallots to the proper thickness with a mandoline ensures that they cook at an even rate and are able to crisp properly without becoming greasy.
- Removing the shallots from the heat and straining them when they're lightly golden keeps them from turning too dark and bitter due to carryover cooking.
- Gently blotting the shallots on multiple layers of paper towels keeps them from turning soggy and oily.
- Along with crispy fried shallots, this recipe produces an aromatic fried-shallot oil that can be used to make things like vinaigrettes, mayonnaise, or subsequent batches of fried shallots.
If you like crunchy, savory garnishes, you need to add Thai-style fried shallots to your repertoire. This is really a twofer recipe: Along with crispy shallots that can be sprinkled over almost anything, you get a side of aromatic fried-shallot oil that you can use for making more recipes, like salad dressings and mayonnaise.
- 1 pound (450g) shallots, peeled and sliced into 1/16-inch-thick rounds (see note)
- 2 cups (475ml) vegetable oil
- Kosher salt
Line a rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a large heatproof bowl or medium saucepan.
If cooking on stovetop: Combine shallots and oil in a medium saucepan or wok. Place over high heat and cook, stirring frequently, until shallots begin to bubble, 2 to 3 minutes. Continue cooking, stirring constantly as the shallots fry to ensure even cooking, until shallots turn pale golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes longer. Working quickly, pour contents of saucepan into prepared strainer set over bowl. (Shallots will continue cooking for a brief period after draining, so do not allow them to get too dark.)
If cooking in microwave: Combine shallots and oil in a large microwave-safe bowl, and stir with a fork to separate rounds. Microwave on high power for 5 minutes. Stir, making sure to loosen any pieces of shallot clinging to the sides of the bowl. Continue to microwave in 2-minute increments, stirring between each round, until shallots begin to turn lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes total. Microwave in 30-second increments, stirring between each round, until evenly pale golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute 30 seconds longer. Working quickly, pour contents of bowl into prepared strainer set over bowl. (Shallots will continue cooking for a brief period after draining, so do not allow them to get too dark.)
Immediately transfer shallots to prepared baking sheet, spread them out into an even layer, and season with salt. Allow shallots to drain, then carefully lift the top layer of paper towels and roll shallots onto second layer, blotting gently with the first. Allow shallots and oil to cool to room temperature, then transfer to separate airtight containers. Store fried shallots at room temperature, and shallot oil in the refrigerator.
Using a mandoline will produce the most even thickness for the sliced shallots.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Fried shallots can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months. Fried-shallot oil can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month.