My inspiration for the making of marinated red onions originates from the famous Venetian recipe ‘Sarde al Saor’. The traditional recipe for ‘sarde’ is made of a combination fried sardines in a bath of onions marinated in vinegar. Wandering through the streets of Venice, one will invariably find simple white ceramic platters filled with this combination of ingredients, set on buffet tables and bar counters, ready to be served with a glass of cold white wine. An Italian won’t mind the relatively colorless appearance of white onions on fried fish, served at room temperature on a credenza table top. Living far north of Venice, I found that my guests were reluctant to eat fried sardines, let alone white onions in vinegar. Thus the study of marinated onions that ultimately led to the simple recipe that follows.
- three red onions of approximately 500 grams in weight
- a portion of honey white wine vinegar
Heat the vinegar gently to a slow simmer. Meanwhile peel the onions and cut them in half. Slice the onions evenly lengthwise, and cut them into a nice evenly sized dice. Put the onions into the simmering vinegar and cook them for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The onions will turn bright purple. Drain the onions while they still have a crunch, saving the vinegar in a bowl. Let the onions cool before putting them into a clean glass jar with a lid. Save the equally purple vinegar in a separate bottle once cooled. The marinated red onions can be saved in the refrigerator for up to ten days. The red onion vinegar keeps well for two weeks.
♦ Suggested combinations
Serve the red marinated onions with fresh oysters. Stir them through smoked trout or mackerel, in combination with a mayonnaise made with lime juice and olive oil. Scatter the marinated onions through a salad of escarole and sliced red peppers dressed with olive oil, or sprinkle them over your next homemade pizza.
Use the purple red onion vinegar to make a dressing with truffle olive oil, measuring equal amounts of oil and vinegar to taste. Add a boiled egg, perfectly cooked in ten minutes, dicing it into the dressing along with a handful of chopped flat leaf parsley and some ground pepper to taste. Toss the dressing over slivers of fresh white fennel.
Styling by Terri and photography by Sanne Couprie, 2011