Sunday, July 15, 2012

Getting Pickled - Mango and Pickled Pearl Onion Salsa

As far back as I can recall, one of my favorite childhood snacks was my grandma Dolly's pickled carrots. She called them "Dolly's Dillies," and they were just delicious. What I wouldn't give for my Mima to make them for me one more time. Pickling is great because it is an an easy way to infuse extra flavor in vegetables while making them last longer - 
and it's not just about the cucumber any more.
Red Pearl Onions, Photo: NK

Today's pickling inspiration came from these beautiful red pearl onions. I recently visited The Tipsy Parson, a Southern-inflected restaurant in Chelsea, where pickled pearl onions served as a component in a very good savory watermelon salad. The visual contrast between the red watermelon and the purplish little onions was wonderful, as was and the unexpected pop of vinegary taste they added.

Sure enough, upon further research, I found out that master chef Thomas Keller had an easy recipe for pickling these lovelies. 
Quick Pickled Pearl Onions - Thomas Keller

I've reproduced Keller's recipe below making no changes to it at all. I mean, he's Thomas Keller. Keller uses his Pickled Pearl Onions as an accompaniment to grilled chicken, but I'll be doing something a little different. 

Pickled Pearl Onions
Recipe by Thomas Keller 

1 Cup Pearled Onions - either white or red (approximately 16)
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
1/2 Cup Sugar 
1 1/2 Tablespoons Mustard Seeds
1/2 Tablespoon Coriander Seeds
1/2 teaspoon Black Peppercorns

In a medium saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the onions until just tender, about 8 minutes.

Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.

Meanwhile, in another medium sauce pan, bring the 1/2 Cup Water are Vinegar to a boil along with the Sugar, Mustard Seeds, Coriander Seeds and Peppercorns.

Pickle Mixure, Photo: NK

Continue to boil until Sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. 
Pour the liquid over the Onions and let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour or up to 2 days. Drain before serving.

* Drained Onions can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Finished Pickled Pearl Onions, Photo: NK

Now - what to do with these little guys? I decided on adding them to a sweet/savory salsa that work work as a topping for either meat or poultry. Here goes:

Mango and Pickled Pearl Onion Salsa
Recipe by Neurotic Kitchen 

1 Recipe Pickled Pearl Onions - see above
1 fairly ripe Mango, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
3 Scallions, chopped into thin rings, white and green parts
2 teaspoons Rice Vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Olive Oil
1 dash of Tabasco Sauce - optional 
1/4 teaspoon Kosher Salt
Black Pepper to taste

Cut Pearl Onions in half.
Toss all ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine. 
Check for desired seasoning and add Salt or Pepper if needed

Drained Pearl Onions, Photo: NK

Here's our Salsa, as colorful as it is flavorful - 

Finished Mango and Pickled Pearl Onion Salsa, Photo: NK

Uses: This Salsa is great over a firm white fish or white meat, such as pork or chicken. 

Pork Tenderloin Topped with Mango and Pickled Pearl Onion Salsa + a side of Zucchini Crudo, Photo: NK


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