At first, I had no clue what to do with this product when I got it. Yet another coupon promotion I wouldn’t have picked up without prompting. I often find that products I get through promotions like this help get my out of my culinary comfort zone, which is always a fun experience!
I remember getting email after email about this promotion in January and February of 2016. I wasn’t immediately drawn to this product as I’m a big proponent of using fresh ingredients whenever possible. After a while, though, I became intrigued by how excited the company seemed to be about these shallots. If they were this excited and promoting it so heavily it must be good, right? The promotion happened to line up with a visit to my local Penzeys, and in what turned out to be a great decision, I picked the free ½ cup jar.
Penzeys Air-Dried Shallots come in small dried slices. They’re a mottled purple and white color and have a mild, warm, oniony fragrance that’s almost nutty. In dishes, these shallots are flavorful, but not sharp or overly pungent, and I’m quite fond of using them reconstituted without cooking them. As long as you’re adding them to something with a little moisture, there’s no need to rehydrate them in water beforehand; you can add them right to your dish. I haven’t tried toasting them in oil for fear that they might burn, and I’d be surprised it improved the flavor (but if you want to give it a shot, be sure to leave a comment letting me know how it went!).
This is a nice shortcut item. Add it to anything with a little moisture and the shallots soften up within a few minutes. When you’re in a hurry and want to skip chopping onions, you can throw them into a soup or saute for a similar effect. I like to add them to sauteed baby spinach for a no-chop weeknight side dish. Try putting them in salad dressing, where they’ll soften up and add some nice texture. One of my favorite uses for Air-Dried Shallots is throwing them into cold chicken salad for lunches at work. Without having to chop onions, I can make chicken salad super fast from leftover chicken, and the shallots are rehydrated and ready to eat by lunchtime.
I tend to set a pretty high bar for a rebuy item. I have a small kitchen, don’t like clutter, and it makes me sad when my spices sit around and lose flavor if I’m not using them consistently. While I like Air-Dried Shallots a lot, I’m not sure I’ll buy another bottle when my free one runs out; it’s just not a “can’t live without it” item for me. Though I’ve found some nice ways to use them, I find that I don’t use them enough to want to keep them around. They’re a nice shortcut item, but I try to challenge myself not to take shortcuts! If I have time, I’d rather chop up an onion or shallots to use fresh.
My suggestion is to try them out and see if you use them. If you’re often in a hurry or just hate chopping onions, this could be a great item for you. Depending on your cooking style, these shallots might do a great job of filling a need in your cooking routine.
If you’re looking for some inspiration to get started with Penzeys Air-Dried Shallots, here is one of the recipes I mentioned in my post!
Spinach with Raisins and Shallots
Air-Dried Shallots and raisins dress up a quick weeknight side dish and you don’t even need to dirty a knife.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 half pound bag of baby spinach, washed
¼ cup raisins
2 tablespoons Penzeys Air-Dried Shallots
Salt to Taste, about ½ teaspoon
Heat olive oil in a large saute pan. When the oil is shimmering, add the spinach and quickly cover with a lid. After about a minute, remove the lid and stir the spinach, moving the unwilted leaves to the bottom of the pan. Add raisins, dried shallots, and salt and cover for another minute. Remove lid, taste to adjust salt, and stir occasionally until spinach has wilted and raisins have softened.
Price at Time of Posting: $3.95 for a half cup jar
Ingredients List: (None on Bottle)