Sweetening Red Onions
I like using raw red onions in salads, with pasta, and on sandwiches because they have a unique sweetness that white or yellow onions often lack and add a nice sharpness that Vidalia onions just don’t have. Whether diced, sliced, or quartered, marinating in vinegar brings out a subtle “softness” to the onions. Simply add one medium red onion cut to your desired shape, to three tablespoons of vinegar with a pinch of salt. It’s not necessary to use Balsamico Tradizionale (more expensive) but, if you’re a balsamic vinegar addict, it works just as well as the less expensive varieties founds in most supermarkets. A good everyday red wine or sherry wine vinegar also works perfectly.
Let the onions sit in the vinegar for at least half an hour, tossing every so often. If you do this in a closed container, you can simply flip it over periodically. Use what onions you need for whatever you’re making and store the rest for up to four days. After your onions are gone, you can use the leftover onion-infused vinegar in a dressing. This is also great if you’re planning on grilling the onions – they’ll be twice as sweet and will caramelize nicely. Should you only need a half or quarter of an onion, just reduce the vinegar. You really can’t mess this up – just don’t forget the pinch of salt.
We often take onions for granted, considering them as little more than a base for any number of dishes, but this little step puts them in the forefront of any recipe, adding delicious flavor and texture. Marination in this manner also makes raw onions more digestible for some people – another desirable benefit.