Fussy-But-Worth-It Pickled Red Onions

When Rob and I eat at a new restaurant, he can always predict what I’m going to order. It’s always the thing on the menu with pickled vegetables on it. Whether it’s a Vietnamese noodle dish with quick-pickled radish or an old-school hamburger with house-made pickle slices, “Uh-huh,” he says. “That has Prasertong written all over it.”*

I love acid and crunch and sweetness and spiced brine. I’m a pickle addict, what can I say?

So when my sister, who may or may not be a fellow pickle addict, suggested that I turn my unused red onions into pickles, I remembered that I’ve always wanted to try the red onion pickle recipe from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook.

It’s a rather fussy recipe, requiring three rounds of precisely-timed dunkings in boiling brine, with chilling in between. I don’t usually go for fussy, but I made an exception for good pickles, as well as Judy Rodgers, whose precision has never led me astray. I mean, have you ever had a Zuni Cafe-style roast chicken? The instructions are like three pages long and it takes several days to brine, but the crisp-skinned, juicy, perfectly-season bird is the best I’ve ever had. Totally worth the fuss.

As are these bright-pink pickles. The raw onion bite is softened by the spiced brine, which has a nice balance between acidic and sweet, and because the onions are cooked in such brief spurts, they retain their crunch. And they’re beautiful. How many shocking-fuchsia foods do we get to eat in our lives that aren’t loaded with Red Dye #40? Not enough, friends.

Get the recipe: Pickled Red Onions at Orangette

* Yes, we call each other by our last names. And no, I didn’t change my last name to “Kerkovich” when we got married. And no, we never for a moment considered hyphenating, which would have created a 19-letter monstrosity. Instead, collectively we go by “Kerkotong,” as in Let’s invite the Kerkotongs over for dinner tomorrow. Feel free to use it.



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