Salt-Baked Shallot and Tarragon Creme Fraiche
Baking whole shallots wedged in a bed of salt insulates them a bit from the heat so they turn very soft and creamy inside. Don't worry that they'll be overly salty; in fact, they'll be seasoned just right. Serve this creamy condiment with Spiced Slow-Roasted Pork Shoulder.
- 8 medium-size shallots (about 1 pound), left unpeeled
- About 3/4 cup coarse salt, for baking dish, plus 1 1/2 teaspoons, for seasoning
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons), divided
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 2 sprigs thyme
- Safflower oil
- 4 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 2 cups creme fraiche
- Pinch of sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour enough salt into a loaf pan or baking dish just large enough to fit shallots when placed on their root ends to form a layer 1/4 inch deep. Transfer salt into a bowl and combine with lemon zest, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, rosemary, and thyme. Add enough oil to give mixture the consistency of wet sand (about 2 tablespoons). Pour salt mixture into baking dish. Cut a small slice from root end of each shallot to expose a less dried-out end. Place shallots vertically into pan, sticking them down into salt.
Bake shallots until very soft to the touch, about 50 minutes. Let cool, then peel and roughly chop (you should have about 1 1/2 cups). Mix together shallots, tarragon, and creme fraiche in a bowl. Add remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice and sugar; season with salt.