How Easy a Pickle Can Be: The Zuni Pink Pickled Onions

Recipe Review

Have you seen those hot pink pickled onions from the Zuni Cafe Cookbook? Over the last couple of years it seems like they've been everywhere in the blogosphere. We've been meaning to try them for a very long time, and we finally got around to it. Now we're smitten. Who knew pickling was this easy?

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This recipe has a very illustrious pedigree. It was developed by Judy Rodgers of The Zuni Cafe, and subsequently swooned over by bloggers like Molly, Elise, David, and Matt. They're practically a meme.

I think it was the color that got me, but I wanted to make them too. But I have had this bookmarked for two years, coming back now and then to bask in the pure pink of those pickled onions.

Well, enough was enough, last week. I had a cookout on my hands and burgers to top, so I made the darn things.

What does it take? Not very much. You need vinegar (more than I had around; I was unprepared and had to make do with a mixture of cider and rice vinegars). You need a few spices, and some red onions. That's it. Then you need some time. This recipe looks intimidating; you're supposed to blanch the onions in the sweet vinegar mixture three times, leaving them to cool between each instance. Three times! But it's not as bad as all that; they barely simmer for a minute before you whisk them out to their refrigerator spot again.

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It's the perfect mini project for making one feel good in the midst of doing dishes, laundry, or other domestic drudgery. You can slip these in on the side and fill out those busy hours with one small thing that will uplift your spirits by the end. All that pink! The onions turn shocking, scandalous bright pink, with a nose-clearing vinegar tang and spice and sweetness too.

They're the perfect sweet and tangy crunch for summer pulled pork, grilled burgers, spicy lamb curry, or really anything else you can think of that needs a pickle. And even though I didn't can these for long-term preserving, they should last in a jar in the fridge for a couple more weeks at least.

So don't be like me, putting these pickled onions off for two years. Try them this weekend, and see how easy a pickle can be.

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• Get the recipe: A Proper Pickle at Orangette

Related: DIY Tip: How To Make Dill Pickles

(Images: Faith Durand)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.