Pickled onions are a delicious and easy condiment that can add flavor to almost any dish. This recipe makes a sweet and salty brine, so to hit the trifecta of flavors, pair the onions with rich foods like cheeses and red meats. They're excellent on nachos, pork chops, sandwiches, and hummus. On salads the brine doubles as a pungent vinaigrette. Or you can just eat them straight from the jar by the forkful as I do (I have no self-respect).
Dead Easy Pickled Onions
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup vinegar
4 tbs sugar
1 tbs salt
Slice onion and put slices in an old glass jar. The exact thickness isn't particularly important but thicker slices take longer to marinate and have a more concentrated flavor. My personal preference is to slice them as thinly as possible. Heat the vinegar in a small saucepan, add sugar and salt, then stir to dissolve. Pour the brine over onions and refrigerate overnight. That's it!
Many people suggest red wine vinegar but I find the difference in flavor is minimal and doesn't justify the cost and cabinet space of keeping so many different vinegars. The natural color of the onions will leach into the brine and replicate the pink color anyway.
A couple food safety notes: these onions aren't truly pickled and so aren't shelf-stable. Keep them in the fridge unless eating dodgy foods is how you get excitement in your life. I also tend to re-use the brine at least once. Just chop up another onion and add to the jar, topping off with a little more vinegar if necessary. Using the brine more than that tends to make it suspiciously cloudy and also reduces the flavor as the brine gets diluted by the water in the onions themselves. YMMV.