Pub-Style Pickled Onions
A pub lunch of crusty bread, thick slabs
of crumbly Cheddar cheese, and these pickled onions is an age-old and
truly satisfying meal. Add thick slices of cold roast beef, pork, or
lamb for an extra-simple, impromptu Sunday dinner party.
Makes about 1 quart
1 1/2 cups Madeira, tawny port, or other fortified red wine
3/4 cup malt vinegar, white wine vinegar,
or cider vinegar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper
2 pounds small ( 1 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter) yellow or white onions,
boiled in water to cover for 3 minutes, drained, and peeled; or 2 pints
(20 ounces) boiling onions, boiled in water to cover for 1 minute,
drained, and peeled; or two 16-ounce packages frozen baby onions,
thawed and dried
3 tablespoons mild vegetable oil, preferably peanut (not olive oil)
Salt to taste
Hot pepper sauce to taste (optional)
In a medium-size nonreactive saucepan, combine the wine, vinegar, sugar
and red pepper. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil vigorously
until the mixture is reduced to about 2 cups of liquid, 5 to 6 minutes.
Arrange the onions vegetables in one layer in a large skillet. Pour in
the oil and cook the onions over high heat, shaking or tossing, until
they are golden but not dark brown. This can take 6 to 8 minutes and
requires constant watching to keep them from burning. Once they are
browned, add them to the wine mixture.
Simmer the onions vegetables in the wine until crisply tender. They
must not become mushy but should retain a crunchy texture. If you are
using boiling onions or frozen onions, this may take only 1 or 2
minutes. Cool the onions in the liquid.
Add salt and, if you like, season with hot pepper sauce, refrigerate
several days to improve the flavor. Serve this simple pub-style pickled
onions vegetables cooking recipes at room temperature.