I’m a big fan of onions.
Caramelized? Yep. Stir-fried? Sure. Onion rings? You really need to ask?
But raw, especially the red ones, can be a little much. The really sweet ones are okay, but once you get beyond that, they’re just a bit pungent and potent and spicy.
I’ve recently developed a soft spot for pickled onions. They’re a nice compliment to a wide variety of dishes and add a nice fresh flavor to otherwise heavier meals.
This was my first attempt at making my own pickled onions, and I’m pleased with how they turned out. They keep most of their crunch, have a mild (not overwhelming) tang from the vinegar, and the spiciness is almost completely eliminated. But sorry, your breath will still drive away your loved ones.
I used red onions for this, but feel free to use whichever variety you prefer.
Start by thinly slicing the onions. Thickness is up to you, and I like mine on the thin side, but if you want more substance, by all means, go ahead. As with many repetitive slicing projects, a mandoline is a tremendous time saver here.
Put the slices into jars, then mix up a brine, adjusting the amount to the number of jars you filled; if you filled two pint jars, you’ll need a quart of liquid. The brine consists of half water and half vinegar (I’d recommend something besides standard white vinegar – I used a mix of apple cider and red wine vinegars), so in this case, two cups of each.
Add a little sugar and salt to the brine. Many recipes call for boiling the brine first, but I didn’t. Pouring boiling liquid over the onions will invariably cook them to a certain degree, and I wanted to keep mine as crispy as possible.
Toss a few peppercorns into each jar of onions, then pour the brine over them. Cover and refrigerate. Ideally, give them a few days to allow the flavors to develop, but you can eat them after an hour if you can’t wait! Should keep for several months in the fridge.
Put these pickled onions on your burgers, sandwiches, tacos, any kind of meat, salads… the possibilities are as limitless as your imagination!