This is a key technique to master if you’re a lover of Southeast Asian-inspired cooking, shallots/garlic or super savory umami. These savory little chips can add legit “why can’t I stop eating this?” factor to all sorts of dishes. We’ve thrown them atop a salad of bib lettuce, grilled peaches and toasted cashews with lime-cilantro vinaigrette; sprinkled them over freshly cooked borlotti beans with kale wilted into the cumin-y bean broth; tucked them up into rice paper wraps galore; used them to garnish heirloom tomatoes with olive oil, Thai basil and a squeeze of lime; and, of course, they’re the start of this simple, delicious salad of rice noodles, fennel and herbs.
As soon as you get the hang of it, it’s really as easy as can be. Here’s how to make them, with some key tips below:
Shave garlic (5-6 large cloves, at least) on a mandoline (or thinly slice it); paper-thin is ideal. Do the same for the shallots (use at least 3 big shallots).
In two saucepans or frying pans, heat ¾-inch of grapeseed oil (or any neutral frying-friendly oil) over medium heat. Test the oil by dropping in a sliver of garlic and shallot – if it immediately sizzles, you’re ready to roll.
Add garlic to one pan and shallots to the other, give both a stir, and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a gentle sizzle, until the alliums turn golden-brown – 2-4 minutes for the garlic and 6-15 minutes for the shallot. (The cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the slices and crowdedness of the pan.)
Drain through a strainer (save that oil! more on that below…) and immediately turn onto paper towels, spreading into single layers, to dry. Store whatever you don’t use in an airtight container in a cool, dry place (not the fridge!); they’ll keep for two or three days. Technique tips below…