There are just some thing we don’t cook enough and some arts that get lost over generation – the quick pickle is one of those things. Quick pickled onions (and other vegetables) were once a staple of many kitchens and are an easy way to add flavour to a meal with minimal effort.
In the context of what I am writing about, a ‘quick pickle’ simply means something that is pickled and eaten at the same meal. It is not preserved and can be prepared in micro quantities. My Grandfather (“Pepe”) was a giant fan of slicing cucumbers and marinating them in white vinegar as he prepped a fish supper. He would pull the slices from the vinegar with his fingers (one at a time) and individually salt them as he ate his fish. This was extra special if cucumbers had just come from the garden.
We tend to lightly cook most of our quick pickles (a recipe will follow).
Here’s some of the advantages:
- It’s quick.
- You don’t need jars.
- You don’t need a recipe and don’t need to worry about the right amount of acid.
- You can experiment.
- You can make very small batches
- You can achieve results you wouldn’t when pickling traditionally (we quick pickle spanish onions below – and we retain their color; traditional pickling and all of the cooking and water-bathing would typically result in color loss
- You don’t need storage space
- You get to eat more veggies (I wouldn’t normally eat all the onion below)
- You can use more expensive ingredients as the batches are small enough to splurge economically (such as excellent wine vinegar).
- You can use any type of vinegar – including homemade – without worrying about acidity.
A quick pickle is a chef’s secret at many restaurants. Most gently cook an ingredient in a slight simmer of vinegar and other ingredients (our recipe follows after the pictures below):
Quick Pickled Onions
- Cut onions in even thickness. We use a mandoline.
- Bring brine to a light simmer. To pickle a half onion I generally toss things into a pan without measuring – for these we used: two-thirds a cup of wine vinegar, 2 tablespoons of sugar, half teaspoon of salt, half teaspoon of white pepper. We don’t cover everything with brine but use enough that there’s still some left in the pan when you’re done.
- Add onions until slightly soft. They will continue to wilt with the heat – we toss them in the brine for 30-60 seconds and place in a bowl.
- Eat hot or cold.
Any favourite fruit or veggies that you do this with? Any other tips? We love hearing your ideas and comments and discussions. 🙂