Growing up, many times I watched my dad peel and quarter a yellow onion, sprinkle a little salt over it, dip it in mayonnaise and eat it. Hard core, don’t you think? I certainly did. I grew up loving onions anyway— though not raw and dipped in mayo.
The first time I had pickled onions they were on avocado toast and they were sublime. OK, the avocado had something to do with it too, but I was determined to figure out how to make some of those pickled onions. You know when you go to a restaurant and there is a topping or sauce that makes all the difference to the dish and so you don’t mind paying a little extra? This is one of those little additions and it costs hardly anything. It keeps for a couple weeks and takes only minutes to make.
The first time I pickled red onions I used spring onions. A regular red onion works just fine though, and makes your taco filling, avocado toast, quesadilla, roasted green beans, green salad, or potato salad look more attractive when draped over the top. My husband eats them out of the jar with a spoon—don't do that though...:-)
This recipe is easy and versatile; you can make it in minutes, though it takes a day or two to mellow. Now you have a condiment in your fridge that can be pulled out and used on a number of dishes. I have simplified Alice Waters’ recipe since I am using this brine for red onions only.
You can add the pickled onions to green salads, potato salads, avocado toast, pasta, sandwiches, or roasted veggies...use your imagination!
For The Brine:
Adapted from Alice Waters’ "All-Purpose Pickling Brine"
- 1 1/4 cups white wine vinegar
- 1 3/4 cups of water
- 2 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar
- 1/2 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Slice onions thinly—about the thickness of a dime or you can use a mandolin. I have one of those inexpensive Japanese ones. If using spring onions, slice all the white part and some of the green. Place in medium non-reactive (Bare Stone farmhouse style) bowl.
Place all the ingredients for the brine in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a slow boil. Once the sugar and salt have dissolved, pour over the onions and let sit until the brine has come to room temperature. Store in a jar in the refrigerator, adding just enough liquid to cover the onions.
Note: this makes a lot of brine. You can halve it for a bunch of spring onions (3-4) or one small red onion.
When you’re ready to use the onions, just take a few out with tongs or a fork, leaving the brine in the jar. They last in the refrigerator for at least a couple of weeks.