When searching for that elusive balance with a dish I often find that I am craving some much needed acid. Be it to cut through a rich meal to refresh my palate or as a final kick to compliment that perfect bite, acid is often considered one of the pillars of cooking.
There are many ways to introduce acid into a dish, be it with citrus, vinegar, wine, buttermilk, etc. that exist at your disposal. When first wading into the deep waters that are acid I often advise my fellow cooks to lean into pickling as a great first few steps. This speedy and nearly mistake proof technique is a skill you will use forever more.
For most, pickling brings images of cucumbers, pickling salt and boiling glass containers. Though this does produce an excellent product and one worthy of conversation down the road, quick pickling is a tool that many professional chefs use to great aplomb and what we are focusing in on today. This allows for maximum punch in little time often using the fruit or vegetable of your choice. Welcome to the wonderful world of acid.
A few after the fire critiques: We went with onions here but you can exchange them for carrots, jalapeños, peaches, jicama or whatever your heart desires. Also, don’t be limited by the flavoring components I listed below. Adding all spice, cinnamon sticks, cumin or coriander seeds are not uncommon, have fun with it.
Red Onion (quartered and thinly sliced)
Jalapeño (deseeded, deveined and minced)
Garlic (2 cloves minced)
Apple Cider Vinegar (½ Cup)
Peppercorns (10-12 whole)
Sugar (2 Tbsp.)
Salt (1 Tbsp.)
Sealable Plastic Container
Place all fuel and ½ cup water in the saucepan sans the onions over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Bring to a boil ensuring all the salt and sugar have dissolved then immediately remove from the heat. Meanwhile, place all the onions in a plastic container and pour the pickling solution over them to cover. Let it cool on the counter top then place in a refrigerator for no less then 10 minutes. Note that the longer it is pickled the more intense the flavor and spiciness. These will last for a few weeks if covered. Enjoy cause they’re good.