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Mar 22, 2008 12:20 PM

What's the best method to make pickled red onions?

I want to add pickled red onions to the top of a simple bibb lettuce salad with an orange vinegarette and toasted pecans to accompany a frittata. I've noticed some recipes call for oregano or cilantro which sounds great if I was making tacos but I want to keep it simple.

Some techniques include pouring boiling water over them before you brine and others don't. I want the color of them to really pop and have a nice flavor. What's the best method and recipe for this? Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    That's a recipe for pickled red onions from the Chow recipe file.....

    1. For salads, I just slightly muddle feather-sliced red onion in the vinagrette about an hour prior to salad assembly.

      1. I'm not sure there is a best. The blanching cuts out some of the bite, but so does the salt and acid, so it probably isn't crucial. It is a common step in Ecuador, but there is some indication that their red onion is sharper than the one commonly available in the US.

        As for color, depth of color of the original onion may help, but I find the uniform pink color develops with several hours or more of siting the in the marinade. Sugar is optional, hot pepper is optional, exact mix of citrus juices is variable. Some recipes also call for a bit of oil.


        1. I found this recipe on Orangette and I am obsessed with it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rachaeltb

            I would go with a modified rachael recipe- equal parts white vinegar and sugar, brought to a boil. Add some beet juice from a jar of Harvard beets. Add 1/8 inch onion slices, turn heat off. After 45 minutes, remove onions from liquid and chill. Separate the remaining slices into rings as you serve.

          2. I just slice them very thin, toss into plastic zip-loc bag, sprinkle in salt and sugar. Let sit out for a few minutes till the juices start to come out. Add vinegar of choice- just enough to cover. White wine or even the basic white (I know many of you only use this as a cleaning product). Let sit in fridge laying down (more surface area) and turn once in a while. Go at least half a day.