Quick Citrus Pickled Red Onions
Makes 3-4 cups
2 medium red onions, cored, sliced into very thin (1/16 inch) rounds
1/2 c. lime juice (fresh squeezed is preferable – about 4-5 limes)
1 c. orange juice (fresh squeezed is preferable – about 5 oranges)
1 t. sugar
1 T. pickling salt (any non iodized salt will do, such as sea salt)
1 jalapeño or serrano pepper, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, very thinly sliced
Bring a medium sized pot of water to a rolling boil. Drop in onions and blanch for 15 seconds. Drain onions in a colander.
Mix the lime juice, orange juice, sugar, and salt in a non-reactive bowl until sugar is dissolved. Add onion slices and slivered jalapeño and stir to coat. Refrigerate onions for at least 3 hours before serving. Store extra pickled onions in an airtight glass or tupperware container for up to two weeks.
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It has been HOT around here lately. The thermometer climbed to well over 90 degrees four of the last five days, and reached over 100 last thursday. It was hard to choose which was worse–being outside under the hot sun, sitting at work with a semi-functional air conditioner and no windows, or sitting in my tiny apartment that acts like a convection oven with its southern facing windows… as a Seattle native, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able adjust to any temperature above about 78 degrees…
But the saturday farmer’s market went on, heat and all, and I made my weekly visit. With the hot weather, my mind turned to cool, raw, refreshing foods while I wandered through the market, and I found myself picking up what normally are my mid-summer go-to’s: cucumbers, whitefish, peaches, spicy peppers, cherries, basil, and cilantro to name a few. Once home, I wanted to make foods that required as little cooking as possible, things with a crunch or a refreshing chill, things that required very little active time, since standing in a hot kitchen was the opposite of what I wanted to be doing that hot afternoon. One of the things I settled on was citrus pickled red onions.
Besides fitting all of the above criteria (very little cooking, refreshing, extremely simple), these onions taste great! They’re pungent, a little sour, a little sweet, a little salty, and a little spicy — basically heaven in a jar. They’re also quite versatile. Since I made these on saturday, I’ve used them with nearly every meal I’ve eaten besides breakfast. Some things I’ve done so far are:
– topping for Hawaiian-Style Braised Pork (I shredded the pork instead of leaving it in cubes)
– mixed into brown rice with cilantro, as a side dish for a white fish stir fry (a.k.a. was- supposed- to- be- ceviche- but- I- couldn’t- handle- raw- fish- after- Bay- to- Breakers)
– sauteed with sliced pasilla/padron peppers
Some things I intend to do:
– mixed into white fish and jalepeño ceviche
– minced with cilantro and a little sour cream as a dip for tortilla chips
– added as a garnish to a gin gimlet
One thing you’ll notice is the spectacular hot pink color of these pickled onions. At first I was a bit put off by the shocking color since it makes them look a little artificial, but I soon got over it by picturing some of nature’s other brightly colored vegetables, namely… BEETS! Sometimes things in nature just have spectacular colors and we might as well embrace it as one of the myriad spices of life.
Anyhow, if this past week is any indication, chances are we’re in for a long hot summer… what are your favorite summer dishes? most of mine are variations on cucumber salad…