Recipe: Vanilla-Shallot Dipping Butter

makes 1/2 cup

This rich dipping butter has warm vanilla undertones, mellow onion/garlic flavor from the shallot, and a bright acid note from the white wine. Recipe inspired by the New York Times.


1 stick (8 Tbsp) butter
1 shallot, minced (about 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup white wine
1/2 vanilla bean, split

Serve with Boiled Lobster


Melt a tab or two of butter over medium heat.

Add shallots and cook. Shallots are incredible. I don’t think I’ve used one in 5 years. Thank goodness this recipe came along, to knock me to my senses!

Once the shallot is soft and translucent, add white wine. Take a sip, if you have some extra.

Simmer for several minutes, until almost all the liquid evaporates.

Then, whisk in the rest of the butter.

And add the scrapings of half a vanilla pod.

Fresh vanilla scrapings take this dipping butter over the edge, into the realm of the divine.

A little salt and pepper seals the deal.

At this point many smart people – like the people at the New York Times – will tell you to strain the butter, carefully pressing the juices out of the shallot.

This makes a clear, elegant dipping sauce.

I must not be very smart or elegant, because I could not bear the thought of throwing out that incredible buttery/shallot goodness. No way.

So I kept it and ate it all. As you can see by the pictures below, that my sauce isn’t remotely clear or elegant.  But it is full of chunky shallot goodness.

Do what works for you, but if you are going to throw out your shallot, send it my way. Thanks!

Serve with Boiled Lobster

P.S. Please help me think of some other uses for this divine sauce.

It’s too good. I can’t hardly stand to only use it for lobster.


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  1. Jessica Bennett says:

    I would think your butter would taste good with scallops too.

  2. I love shallots. They’re sometimes hard to find in your mainstream grocery store. Luckily, we have this awesome grocery store that has pretty much everything I can want (Israeli couscous, French lentils, figs, red and golden beets!). Anyway, I use them mainly for risotto or for Tarragon Chicken, but I agree. Yummy!!! I would never strain out that shallot goodness.

  3. Tennyson wrote a poem in honor of shallots.

    “Lancelot mused a little space;
    He said, ‘She has a lovely face;
    God in his mercy lend her grace,
    The Lady of Shalott.'”

    I was wondering about this sauce for days now. I thought it would be either divine or disastrous. One contestant was sent home from Top Chef for serving halibut with a vanilla sauce. In his sauce, the vanilla overpowered everything. But in yours it didn’t. Well done!

  4. elisa waller says:

    u are amazing..and so is this meal….<3

  5. If you think killing this lobster was bad, try Julia Child’s recipe for lobster bisque Step 1: Quarter the LIVE lobster.

    I did it once, which required some interesting mental gymnastics. “It’s just a big bug, it’s just a big bug. OK, now it’s yummy seafood!”

  6. Wow, Sasha, this sauce and lobster tutorial are excellent! You are doing such a fantastic job with your cooking project!

  7. That sauce sounds like it would go good with any seafood…shrimp, scallops, crab legs, poured over tilapia…

  8. The sauce sounds great. I agree that it could probably go with any seafood….
    Ok this may sound odd but I think it would be good over potatoes…hmm like small red ones…may have to try that myself.

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