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Cooking large batch of caramelized shallots

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Edit: Browsing recipes...let me add that I'm making the crispy version of sliced rings, not cooking the whole shallot. We use these to top, well, just about everything--they are that wonderful.

***Maybe I should have said "CRISPY SHALLOT RINGS" instead of "caramelized shallots"??***

This can use a huge amount of oil, in that separated shallot slices take up a lot of volume with much of it being "airspace".

Also, I find they have to cook so long, that I'm wary of reusing batches of oil.

I'm wondering if the shallots would caramelize faster if I wait a little while to cook the slices for them to dry out a bit?

I'm also considering tossing them with oil and baking or broiling them--anyone tried that?

How do restaurants or other commercial concerns make big batches of caramelized shallots?

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  1. How do restaurants do it? The method I've seen is on a sheet pan in the oven.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ferret

      Do you know if they bake or broil it?
      Were they spread in a single layer?

    2. dunno how restaurants do it, but the way i do it for red onions is as follows:

      preheat oven to 420 degrees.

      slice the onions/shallots and separate the rings and spread out over a large sheet pan, single layer, some space in between the rings. (if you cram the onions/shallots together you will get greasy mush.)

      drizzle olive oil over the entire thing

      roast for 20 minutes, stir, and put back in oven until caramelized.

      1 Reply
      1. re: westsidegal

        Sorry, I believe now that I mis-typed. I don't want soft, caramelized rings, but crispy ones. Brown-crispiness is maybe different than caramelized-brownness...

        I guess they'd have to be fried. Not sure that the oven would make them crispy, now that I think of it. Ovens tend to hold moisture in, and to get them crispy probably the moisture has to cook off.

      2. These are usually called "Fried Shallots" "Caramelized" is a different product.
        The way you are currently doing it is how they are done in Restaurants and Commercially.
        They are commercially available at most South East Asian Groceries and of good quality.
        You can slice them and dehydrate some before frying them. They cook up crisp in just a few moments, they also burn very easily. They will be slightly harder than ones that are not dried first.
        They can also be done in smaller batches with much less oil
        http://vietworldkitchen.typepad.com/b...

        1. Your window to edit has passed but if you flag your post and ask the mods to re-title it, they are able to do that. It might get you more relevant responses.

          Around here, it's cheaper to buy crispy fried shallots in Asian markets than to make your own but I believe you can do it in a pan in the oven. The wider the better, but it needs to be deeper than a sheet pan to hold at least a half inch of oil, probably more like an inch. I have a metal pan that is the depth of a lasagna pan, but 12x18".
          A turkey roaster or two lasagna pans would be what most home kitchens might have.

          I would suggest first using a parchment-lined pan to dry the rings over low heat (<200F) till they are a bit limp but have not changed color (or spread on paper towels on plates and microwave on low power). That way, when they go into the oil there will be little spattering. Preheat the oil-filled pans in the oven, or the pan in the oven while heating the oil in a pot atop the stove. I'd think somewhere between 375-425F for the actual oven-frying. I'd experiment first with a small amount, in an 8" square pan. That won't guarantee the same timing or temps when using a large pan, but will give you a general idea if the process works to your satisfaction.

          1. In a saute pan, with water close at hand.

            Here you go, this is how we do it at the restaurant

            http://youtu.be/yt_0e72fs9M

            2 Replies
            1. re: Zalbar

              I don't think you paid attention to the OP's question, which is about CRISPY fried shallots. The linked video is for soft caramelization.

              1. re: greygarious

                My post title was a little ambiguous/misleading.

                My last batch wasn't too bad, just not quite crispy enough. Next time I'm going to try even thinner slices and letting them dry out a bit before frying.