At America’s restaurants, you may have noticed more appetizers and entrees draped with pickled onions in the last couple of years. You may have been adventurous enough to try them, learning how their tartness coupled with onion flavor kick every dish up a notch, bringing tired flavors into a new era.
Pickling has been around some 4,000 years as a way to preserve vegetables. It became popular in 18th century England as a way to preserve food, according to savoringthepast.net, and today is traditionally served with fish and chips or with what is called a ploughman’s lunch, a dish of bread, cheese and onions — part of the English diet for centuries.
Today, pickled onions are used all over the world in a variety of dishes.
Just as with fashion, foods come and go, and the pickled onion has made a resurgence in the United States in recent years. According to a Datassential survey on menu trends, the use of pickled onions has grown 191 percent in restaurants and diners in the U.S. in the last four years. From 2016-17, their use grew 8 percent. It seems chefs are on to something. They’ve learned the pickled onion adds an interesting twist when paired with burgers and dogs and salads and sandwiches.
Adding pickled onions to your dishes doesn’t have to be the work of a 5-star restaurant chef. In fact, pickling onions is easier than expected, and it adds a delicious kick to any old dish you’re working on for dinner, lunch or even your tailgating dogs.
Pickled onions are great make-ahead options for garnishing your meats, adding to salads or sandwiches. While healthier for you, you’ll not be giving up the flavor.
Pickled Ginger Onion Relish
Recipe provided by the National Onion Association.
Yields: 3 cups
- 3 cups onions (red, sliced 1/8-inch thick)
- 3/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
- 1/2 cup pickled ginger with juices
Place onions into a bowl and cover with icy water for 10 minutes. Drain when ready to use. In a saucepan, heat vinegar, honey, salt and pepper over low heat just until boiling. Remove from heat. Pour over drained onions and mix well. Stir in ginger with juices and mix. Cover and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Place in a covered container and refrigerate at least 24 hours before using.