In Carb Lover's fantastic post on making banh cuon, I mentioned that my mother has a way to make those fried onions (used as a topping/garnish) in the microwave. My father, you see, is fanatic about the amount of oil/butter that's used in recipes, and is always carping at my mother (and me, whenever I cook at home) to keep the yummy fat content low for health reasons. I thought that's what lipitor was for, but no matter. Onto the recipe..
Thinly slice lots of shallots until you get about 1 cup's worth. (I'm estimating the amount, since she told me she made about a cupped palm's worth). Toss with very little canola oil (not olive, as I'd guessed). Then microwave, using a microwave-safe plate, until they resemble regular fried onions. Her technique (although you may have to fiddle with this depending on the strength of your microwave and how many shallots you use) is to microwave on high for 4 minutes, stir, then microwave for two, stir again, and then for a last minute if the onions need it. Remarkably, this works, and it makes my father happy because then he can have lots of fried onions relatively guilt free.