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Magically Fry Your Shallots in the Microwave

Savory and crispy fried shallots can be yours without breaking out a pot of oil.

Published May 4, 2021.

Fried shallots are like the bacon of garnishes—crispy, savory, and a sprinkle of them makes most dishes more delicious.

Sure, the stuff that comes in a store-bought can is convenient. But they don’t taste half as good as fresh-fried shallots. But frying shallots at home involves . . . frying shallots at home. You have to keep your eye on them constantly, they require constant stirring, and they can burn if you’re not paying attention.

Then I discovered the hands-free method that fries shallots by using the microwave.

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This method was developed by Cook’s Illustrated test cook Andrew Janjigian for his congee recipe. Instead of constantly stirring and keeping your eye on the shallots in a skillet, he sets them in a microwave and (mostly) forgets them. After the first five minutes, you check on the shallots every two minutes (then 30 seconds closer to the end) and give them a stir.

All it requires is combining shallots with vegetable oil and microwaving the mixture in decreasing time increments, stirring between each one. In the end, you’re left with perfectly fried and crunchy stress-free shallots.

Whether you put them on salads, eggs, soups, rice dishes, or even in salad dressings, the possibilities are endless. Here's the recipe.

Microwave-Fried Shallots

Serves 4 to 6

3 shallots, sliced thin
½ cup vegetable oil

Combine shallots and oil in medium bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes. Stir and continue to microwave 2 minutes longer. Repeat stirring and microwaving in 2-minute increments until beginning to brown (4 to 6 minutes). Repeat stirring and microwaving in 30-second increments until deep golden brown (30 seconds to 2 minutes). Using slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper towel–lined plate; season with salt to taste. Let drain and crisp, about 5 minutes.

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