Our treasured Companion Bakeshop makes great sandwiches–baguettes spread with creamy goat cheese covered with leaves of arugula sprinkled with crunchy pickled red onions. One day I realized the onions were like Daddy’s and set about making some. Oh, so easy, so rewarding, such fun.
Choose a large firm red onion and cut it in half between the stem and root ends. (Yes you can pickle a yellow or white onion, but the red is so handsome). Remove the skin then thinly slice the onion crosswise to make crescents–leave them this size or cut the crescents crosswise in half (smaller pieces are more versatile). Place the onions in a quart jar and add rice vinegar or white wine vinegar to come about halfway up the jar, around 1-1/2 cups. Add an equal amount of cold water, then sprinkle in a scant teaspoonful each of sugar and salt. Stir with a chopstick or big spoon, shake the jar to mix, then screw on the lid, set in the fridge. (I keep ours on a door shelf which reminds me to use them.) Onions’ll be crunchy in a couple of hours and will keep a month or more, softening with time.
Great sprinkled over cream-cheese-and-green olives on toast (another of my father’s breakfast favorites), and in tossed salads…over cooked fish…and so on…
Crisp pickled carrots: Probably there will be room in the jar–if so, scrub some medium-size carrots (I never peel carrots), slice crosswise on the diagonal 1/8th inch thick, and tuck the pieces in amongst the onions. Yum.