A good introduction to a recipe can be very educational. I wish Sabrina Ghayour had told us that shallots don’t have blossoms in the introduction so that I didn’t write this recipe off as too faffy for so long, requiring fancy ingredients not available in the local Lidl. Eventually reading the recipe, I learnt that the shallots are sliced, almost to the root to create the shallot “blossom”.
Seeing the shallots prepared like this invoked all sorts of nostalgia, reminding me of peeling my lunchbox Cheesestrings into something like a tassle.
Battering and deep-frying is a chore, which is a shame as the results are so delicious. I would be interested to see if a version of these could be baked in the oven, but I suspect they are best deep-fried. That said, they are worth the chore. The savoury batter, spicy creates a delicious crispy coating that I’ve missed since KFC left my life. The shallots cook till they’re soft enough to eat and have lost that raw onion punch. If you think onion rings (x10,000) then you’re on the right track.
The deep-fried shallot blossoms aren’t the easiest food to eat, with crumbs of batter and drips of the paprika crème fraîche falling and smearing everywhere. Not food for a first date then, but one to savour with your nearest and dearest over a cold lager or two. If you’re anything like me, you will only endure the insufferable chore of cleaning the deep fryer for your most loved ones anyway. Make them just before people arrive then keep them warm in a very low oven.
The Shallot Blossoms can be found on p.162 of Bazaar: Vibrant Vegetarian Recipes, which I recommend everyone purchase. It’s available on amazon.