Pickled red onions are an essential in Yucatán cuisine and accompany many traditional dishes, including cochinita pibil [Editor’s Note: And many untraditional dishes, including ancho short rib tacos]. They’re so easy to make and brighten up any dish with their sweet acidity and hot pink color.–Shannon Bard
LC Acid(ic) Trip Note
Pickled red onions provide the perfect acid(ic) trip when tucked inside tacos, quesadillas, sandwiches, hot dogs, and anything else that could use a tangy crunch. And don’t feel bad if they don’t even make it that far. We’ve been known to snitch so many straight outta the bowl that we’ve had to make another batch. Luckily, these take only 15 minutes to toss together and a few hours to actually pickle. Actually, lately we tend to simply double the recipe right away. That whole “know thyself” thing. As for what you can do with pickled red onions, we compiled a short list of things we find are perfect when embellished by these. Here it is:
Atop tacos, natch. Especially grilled fish tacos.
Substituted for coleslaw on a barbecue sandwich.
Stirred into eggs any time of day.
Plopped on hot dogs.
Swapped in place of pico de gallo or salsa in just about anything.
Draped on an open-face sandwich of smoked salmon and cream cheese or chèvre.
Incorporated into lentil salad with feta.
Added to watermelon salad with feta and arugula.
Strewn atop avocado toast.
Pickled Red Onions Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 15 M
- 4 H, 30 M
- Makes 1 to 2 cups
- 1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 to 1 cup (120 to 240 milliliters) fresh lime juice (from 6 to 10 limes)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (optional)
- 1. Toss the red onion and salt in a nonreactive bowl and stir in the lime juice. Set the mixture aside and let the ingredients hang out at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring fairly frequently, until the onions begin to turn bright pink. At first the onions will be stiff so you’ll need to toss them with the lime juice frequently so as to expose as many of the onions to the lime juice as possible. But after a little while the onions will begin to collapse.
- 2. After half an hour, stir in the oregano and cumin, if desired.
- 3. Cover and refrigerate the red onions and the lime juice for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally, before serving. (Any leftover pickled red onions—as if!—can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week. As for ideas what to do with your pickled onions, see the LC Straight Outta The Bowl note above and the Testers Choice comments below.)
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