Friends don’t let friends eat Mexican food without pickled red onions!
Our first Christmas celebration was with friends Greg and Cauleen. I decided on serving up a Mexican theme. Stay tuned for more dishes from this dinner, but for now let’s start out talking about pickled red onions.
So easy and with so much impact, there’s absolutely no excuse not to give these a try. Tart and sweet, add a hot bite from the onions, some heat from the red pepper and these onions bring the Fiesta to any Mexican meal. Scoop a heaping spoonful onto tacos, enchiladas, tostadas or even a hearty serving of pinto beans and you’ve got yourself a new flavor experience.
The first time I had pickled onions was as a topping for fish tacos at a local, now sadly defunct restaurant, Chama, created by my favorite local restauranteur, Sean Yontz. I thought they were the best thing since sliced bread. Yontz has since opened up a new restaurant, El Diablo, and the fish tacos topped with these beautiful onions live on.
This is my third attempt to duplicate Yontz’s recipe, combining ingredients from several versions I found on the Internet. I believe I’ve come pretty close.
Recipe for Pickled Red Onions
3/4 cup white vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar
pinch of salt
1 bay leaf
5 allspice berries
5 whole cloves
a small, dried chile pepper (I used 1/4 of a dried ancho chile for medium heat)
1 large red onion, peeled, and thinly sliced into rings
In a small non-reactive saucepan, heat the vinegar, sugar, salt, seasonings and chile until boiling. Add the onion slices and lower heat, then simmer for 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool.
Transfer the onions and the liquid into a covered container and refrigerate. These should keep for a couple of months in the refrigerator.
Pickled Red Onions….They’re What’s for a Mexican Dinner.