Malt Pickled Red Onions
We all know pickles, cucumbers mixed with seasoned vinegar, that transform into pickles. This is the base for pickle relish, all the different types and styles of pickles, from bread & butter to dill pickles. Yet what about onions? Sure, you might see some pickled cocktail onions on the shelf… I wanted to play up the flavors, textures, and how the finished pickled onion could be used. This leads me to make Malt Pickled Red Onions.
The vinegar technique of pickling dates back hundreds of years, using a low pH liquid, ie vinegar, to preserve fruit or vegetable. I love to pickle, everything from Jolly Pumpkin La Roja Pickled Cherries, Malt Vinegar Pickled Brown Mustard Seeds, pickled fennel, Pickled Blueberries to making pickles from cucumbers. The culinary technique is very similar, the results are amazing. To learn more about the art of pickling, check out my other Pickle Recipes here.
This Malt Pickled Red Onions is easy to make recipe make, doesn’t require a lot of time, a great preserved product, that adds brightness, texture and so much flavor to so many different dishes. The flavorings can be adjusted to your personal tastes… In this recipe, I use Malt Vinegar, as it is a great way to capture the malt flavor, with increased acid. As malt vinegar is beer, with a mother of vinegar added, left in a dark cool environment to transform. Taste the different brands that are out there. You can even take your favorite low hopped brew and make your own malt vinegar. The possibilities are endless. To add a touch of spice, along with more flavor, I use a seasoning I discovered when I was in Chile, called Merken (Merquen). It contains coriander, salt, and a smoked chili pepper called Cacho de Cabra. This pepper is smoked over a fire, giving it a delicious rich smoky flavor, with just the right amount of heat. The natural residual sweetness found in most malt vinegar adds a counterpoint to the slight heat, making this recipe sugar-free. More salt is added, that when combined with sliced onions (can be cut into rings or slices all depending on your desired use) create a delicious combination of flavors.
This recipe uses red onions for a reason. As with most vegetables that are red | purple, they have a higher nutrient than their white or yellow counterpart. With the red color comes extra beneficial antioxidants, that help fight inflammation and give a healthy boost to the immune system. Quercetin is one of the antioxidants that research has shown to improve health.
Can this recipe be modified? Yes! Try adding a fresh bay leaf to the mix, or oregano (fresh or dried), toasted cumin seeds, peppercorns (either black or white), or even add a few of your favorite hop comes, to add a touch of beer aromatics to the recipe. I have made hopped malt vinegar for a few different dinners of the years, but that is a different story for another page.
How to use Malt Pickled Red Onions:
Try adding this delicious recipe, to a tacos bar, tostadas, sopes, in salads, on a pulled pork sandwich, or adding them to any sandwich just to name a few ideas and suggestions. Try using them as a garnish or as a bite of acid and a counterbalance to a rich, fatty dish.
Makes: 3/4 of a pint
Adapted from BeerAdvocate Magazine: Cuisine à la Bière | May 2014 | Issue #88
|10 servings||5 minute|
|Cook Time||Passive Time|
|5 minute||40 minute|
Malt Pickled Red Onions are an easy and delicious recipe, that can be added to tacos, tostadas, BBQ, salads, used as a garnish, or as a bite of acid to a rich dish.
- 1/2 cup vinegar, malt
- 2 tablespoon salt, kosher
- 1 teaspoon dried chili pepper, such as Merken | (Merquen)
- 1 each onion, red, large, peeled and sliced
- In a small saucepan over low heat, add the malt vinegar, salt and Merken Seasoning, and bring to a boil.
- Add the sliced onion in a clean pint-size mason jar and pour the boiling seasoned malt vinegar over the onions, until they are fully covered with the hot vinegar. Cover with a lid and let the onions steep for about 30 minutes, or until cool to room temperature. After about 30 minutes, the onions turn a vibrant red, almost a neon red, and will be ready to use, or be refrigerated for up to a year.
- After the onions are used, save the special 'vinegar' and use in salad dressings, as a acid to make Mayonnaise | Aioli, splash on Fish & Chips, use with mustard seeds to make aBeer Mustard