Pickled shallots in sherry vinegar
- 100 g sea salt
- 900 g (2 lb) shallots, peeled
- 220 ml (8 fl oz) sherry vinegar
- 550 ml (20 fl oz) white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries
- 2 teaspoons demerara sugar (optional)
- 2 x 1 litre Kilner jars
2 days before the pickling is to start
- Peel the shallots and place in a large bowl - The easy way to do this is to blanche in boiling water for a 2 or 3 minutes first, cut the root off, grip firmly from the 'leaf-end' and squeeze the shallot out of its skin.
- Mix the salt into 2 pints of hot water and pour this over the shallots
- Leave for two days in a cool place, covered with a tea towel. You can place a clean plate on top of the onions to keep them underwater
- Discard the salt-water and rinse the shallots in a sieve under cold runnning water. Pat dry with a tea-towel.
- Add all of the ingredients except for the sugar to a large pan and bring it almost to the boil, then turn off the heat and leave it to go completely cold
- remove the pickles from the salt water and pat dry on a clean tea-towel
- Sterilise the pickling jars and pack the onions into the jars
- Pour the vinegar, with the spices, into the jars and add the optional sugar
- Seal and store in a cool, dark place for 2 months to mature
Play around with the vinegar mixture by making and tasting very small amounts to get the ration correct.
For this batch I used Echalion shallots, (banana shallots), which are a good deal larger than normal shallots. To ensure they pickled evenly, I cut the really big ones in half.
Although I've found these quantities to be perfect for me, just to ensure that you have the correct quantities of onions and vinegar to match your jars, once they are peeled, pop them in the pickling jars to see if they fill them up. Top up with water so they are just covered, then pour off and measure the water and that's how much vinegar you'll need. Add extra onions or use smaller jars if required.