Sunday, September 03, 2006

Balsamic Pickled Onions

Genie from The Inadvertent Gardener is hosting this edition of Weekend Herb Blogging.

Today's post has to do with this rather large bag of small brown onions that for some reason I just had to buy when I saw them at the farmers' market.

baby brown onions© by haalo

I reassured myself that yes indeed, I could do lots of stuff with them!

Now, the only real problem with onions is the chore of peeling and cutting them. There are many tricks to avoid the tears from the sulfenic acids such as
  • cut them under running water
  • wet the onions before you cut them
  • use a really sharp knife
  • keep the onions in the fridge
  • place the knife in the freezer before cutting the onions
One that isn't mentioned is to get someone else to do it!

Returning to the onions in question, I decided to make some pickled onions with the smaller ones but I really didn't want to go through the rigmarole of peeling - the solution came in a technique from an earlier soup recipe - roasting them out of their skin. For the pickling liquid, I've based it on a favourite Italian version that uses Balsamic Vinegar. The other benefit of this method is that they are ready to eat virtually straight away.

balsamic pickled onions© by haalo

Balsamic Pickled Onions

Baby brown Onions
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Brown sugar

You'll notice I've left the quantities deliberately vague. For the pickling liquid, use equal proportions of oil to vinegar and the brown sugar is added to taste. How much you use will depend on the vinegar and oil and your own personal preference. Just whisk these ingredients together until the sugar is dissolved.

To prepare the onions:
Toss the onions in a little olive oil and place them on a baking tray.

Bake in a 180°C/350°F oven until the onions have softened, about 1 hour. Let them cool slightly.

roasted brown onions© by haalo

Cut the root end and prize out the soft onion from the skin. Place these in a jar and then fill with the pickling liquid. Shake the jar if it looks like the liquid has separated. You can serve them after a few hours or leave them overnight for a more intense flavour.

balsamic pickled onions© by haalo

These make an excellent companion for an antipasto platter - or try slicing them and adding them to salads for a nice tangy surprise.


  1. Haloo, this sounds and looks great! as soon as I find baby onions I'll try it! Or maybe it's ok with shallots?

  2. Sorry about your name, I meant to write Haalo but my fingers always type too fast!

  3. Hi Ilva - it should be fine with shallots you can even add garlic, just adjust the roasting time.
    Don't worry about the typo - I make plenty of them!

  4. Haalo
    I bought similar onions this week and roasted them and now can't wait to try them with the balsamic vinegar.Yum

    Strangely like you I could not resist buying them at the market.

  5. I agree with Ilva that this sounds and looks great. I've eaten onions similar to this, but never thought about making them. Great idea. And I love your peeling method!!

  6. Hi Suzy - they must have special powers that make us buy them ;)

    Thanks Kalyn - it's the ultimate method!

  7. Thanks Sher - hope you enjoy them!


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