Courtesy of Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten Free Cooking with Oonagh
Quick Pickled Onions
In the UK, we always had jars of malt vinegar pickled onions to go with bread, cheese and meats, which is often known as a Ploughman’s lunch. In New Hampshire, before I could buy jars of imported pickled onions in malt vinegar, I would peel all those little white onions, salt them, then pickle them well in advance as a Christmas present for my husband, along with a selection of cheeses. Since I now eat gluten-free, and malt vinegar is made from barley, I use red wine vinegar of apple cider vinegar.
This is a recipe a friend gave me. She makes it with red onions, as she likes the pink color. I make it with Vidalia or other sweet onions. I find that Vidalia onions are as crisp as red onions in the vinegar, but more tender and less chewy then red onions. Make these onions overnight so that they are ready for next day, and use a 2-3 cup (16-24 oz.) Ball jar with plastic lid. If you use old jam jar, sterilize it and put plastic wrap between glass jar and metal lid. They will last a few months in the fridge.
Remember that your taste for sugar, salt and vinegar may be different to mine, so you can play with the measurements according to your taste. Pickled onion on its own will taste very different than when put on bread and cheese. Different vinegars will give a different tastes. The salt helps to bring water out of the onions, so they will shrink down in the jar. Sugar tempers the sourness of the vinegar and is also a preservative. You could use some of the vinegar mixture in a homemade vinaigrette after the onions eaten. Do not use the vinegar mixture in the jar to make another batch, because too much water will have come out of the onions and will weaken the strength needed for pickling. You could add dried hot chili pepper or some pickling spice and mustard seeds to the jar.
- 1 Vidalia onion, peeled, quartered and very thinly sliced (make sure to separate the slices)
- ¾ cup (6 fl. oz., 180 ml.) red wine vinegar (made from wine or grapes) or apple cider vinegar (made from apples or cider)
- 1 tsp. (5 ml.) salt
- ¼ cup (2 fl. oz., 60 ml.) sugar
- Fill jar with prepared onion slices. Push the slices down and fill right to the top of the jar.
- Mix vinegar, salt and sugar together and pour over onions. Shake a few times during the day. It doesn’t seem like enough liquid at first, but the onions shrink down overnight. Taste and add more salt if you want.
- Eat and enjoy with bread, cheese and sliced meats or on a burger.
Fresh Tomato Marmalade
Makes 1 12 oz. jam jar
I had this as an appetizer for a party when I spoke at the 40th Annual Gluten Intolerance Group Conference in 2014. I spoke with the chef at one meal, and he wrote out this recipe, which is very similar to a sundried tomato jam that I make.
- 1½ lbs. (750 g.) tomatoes (I like Campari tomatoes that I cut, unpeeled, into small dice. I’ve also made this with the soft squishy tomatoes reduced at the market or leftover at home. I do peel the larger tomatoes by cutting an “X” in stem end, putting in boiling water for a few minutes, then cold water, then peeling and taking out the core from the stem end. Cut into small dice, keep seeds and juices to add to pan.)
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
- 6-8 stems of fresh thyme (Bought dried thyme often smells earthy and tastes moldy, so I don’t use it. I use my own fresh thyme and pull leaves off the stem because it’s a real pain trying to find just the stems in the marmalade once cooked.)
- 2-3 Tbsp. (30-45 ml.) olive oil
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper to taste (I used ½ tsp. salt)
- ⅓ cup (80 ml.) sugar
- ¼ cup (2 fl. oz., 60 ml.) apple cider vinegar, wine vinegar or sherry vinegar. Please use vinegar that says made from apples, cider, wine or grapes.
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely crushed
- 1 tsp. (5 ml.) smoked paprika for a very slight bite, optional
- Use a 4 cup (1 liter) pan to cook onion in the olive oil until softened and starting to brown and caramelize at the edges.
- Add tomatoes, thyme, sugar, bay leaf, vinegar, garlic and smoked paprika. Cook covered over low heat until very soft, liquid is reduced and almost gone and a line is left in tomatoes when you draw wooden spoon through.
- Leave the lid on and stir every now and again. Cook until liquid has evaporated. You can smell the sugar when it’s ready. Larger quantities will take longer.
- Remove from heat, remove bay leaf and thyme stems and pour into a sterilized glass jar. Let mellow for a day and then eat.
Serving Suggestion: You can serve with small pieces of smoked chicken on top of a slice of peeled European cucumber and topped with tiny squiggle of avocado cream.