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A side of red onion escabeche

We partnered with Alhambra-based chefs and food bloggers LatinoFoodie to bring you delicious, flavorful recipes. Today's recipe is for red onion escabeche, or Yucatán-style pickled onions. Read more or jump straight to the recipe!

Everyone should learn how to make red onion escabeche, or Yucatán-style pickled onions. You know what we're talking about. They are there when you go to your favorite Mexican restaurant or taco cart. Magenta tinted, vinegary, and slightly sweet, these pickled onions go with your tacos, tortas, enchiladas, huevos rancheros, quesadillas, carne asada, etc. Learn how to make them and you can impress the señoritas at your next summer barbecue.

Blanching the onions first may cut the bite, but it will also make them pliable. Boiling them for too long may diminish their color, so take care to keep the boil to a couple minutes. Do not overdo the variety of spices or you might not be able to distinguish any flavors, but be adventurous and try different herbs, spices, and even citrus zest.

If you can get your hands on some bitter oranges, try substituting the juice for the vinegar for a more authentic taste. If you still want that citrus zing but cannot find bitter oranges, try substituting the vinegar with equal parts lime juice, orange juice, grapefruit juice, and vinegar.

You can also use this same method to pickle chile peppers like jalapeños, serranos, and habaneros. Try tossing in a few sliced peppers with this red onion escabeche.

Red onion escabecheYields 2 cups

  • 1 pound red onions
  • 5 cups water
  • 2 large garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Using a mandoline or sharp knife, cut the onions into 1/8 inch thick half-moons.

In a heavy medium pot, combine the onions, water, garlic, salt, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 2 minutes.

Drain in a colander. Return the onions, garlic, and bay leaf to the same pot. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over medium heat.

Once at a boil, remove from heat and cover. Allow to cool for an hour.

Transfer the onion mixture to a 16-ounce jar. Close the jar and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

This recipe was originally published on LatinoFoodie, a blog created by Alhambra chefs and food lovers Art Rodriguez and Stephen Chavez. LatinoFoodie highlights cultural trends in food and beverages and features original and adapted recipes, product reviews, and food events.

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