Balsamic pickled shallots

Perfect partners for a creamy blue cheese

  • Prep:1 hrs
    Cook:30 mins
    Plus 3 days standing
  • Serves 4 x 500ml jars
  • Easy

Nutrition per serving

  • kcal 25
  • fat 1g
  • saturates 0g
  • carbs 3g
  • sugars 3g
  • fibre 0g
  • protein 1g
  • salt 0.26g


  • 1½ kg small shallots or pearl onions
  • 1l white wine vinegar
  • 150ml olive oil
  • 600ml water
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorn, cracked
  • 2 handfuls basil leaves
  • 100ml balsamic vinegar


To sterilise jars, run them through the dishwasher, or wash well in hot soapy water, rinse, then dry in a low oven. If you’re pickling and recycling old jam jars, it’s important to cover the pickle with a wax disc first so the metal lid doesn’t react with the vinegar.


  1. Tip the shallots into a large bowl, pour over a kettleful of boiling water, leave to stand for a minute, then drain. When cool enough to handle, sit down, turn the radio on and get peeling.

  2. Set the peeled shallots aside and place all the other ingredients except the balsamic vinegar into a large saucepan. Bring to the boil, lower the heat, then simmer for 3 mins. Drop the shallots into the pan and simmer for 8-10 mins until just tender. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the shallots and basil out into sterilised jars (see Know-how, below), then boil the liquid vigorously for 5 mins. Turn the heat off, stir in the balsamic vinegar, then pour over the shallots to cover. Seal the jars and leave for at least 3 days. Will keep for up to 3 months.

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