Pickled shallots

Powerful pickles to complement cold meats and cheeses from Fergus Henderson
By Fergus Henderson
Pickled shallots
  • Rating:
  • Serves: makes 1 kg pickled onions
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes plus soaking and pickling time
  • Effort: easy


  • 1 kg shallots
  • 500 g sea salt, for brine
  • 1 bottles malt vinegar, about 375ml
  • 1 bottles white wine vinegar, about 375ml
  • 8 cloves
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 8 white peppercorns
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 12 coriander seeds
  • 4 small hot dried chillies


1. Cover the shallots with brine (made with 500g salt to 1.5 litres of water) and leave to soak in a non-metallic container in the fridge for a week.

2. Now you know how much liquid it takes to cover your shallots, combine equal parts of malt and wine vinegar to make the same amount. Bring to the boil in a stainless-steel pan with the spices and herbs.

3. Rinse the shallots thoroughly. Add them to the simmering spiced vinegar and cook for 5 minutes.

4. Remove from the heat and bottle in sterilised sealable jars. Keep somewhere cool for a month.

5. They are now ready to use. The leftover spiced vinegar is very good for dipping cooked whelks in.

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