for each of two jars of pickled onions
14 small white onions
½ cup salt
3 cups vinegar (cider or malt)
8 Tablespoons sugar
1 oz mustard seed
To make the pickled onions, blanch the onions in boiling water to soften them. Remove the skins, rub with the salt, and let them sit overnight.
Rinse and dry the onions. Mix the vinegar, sugar and spices in a large pot. Add the onions and any water necessary to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 10 minutes or until the onions are half cooked. Pack them into clean, hot jars, pour in the vinegar mixture and seal. Store at least two weeks before serving.
Unfortunately, it's all a modern conceit. No farmer could survive on so meager a meal; his midday repast (dinner, never lunch) is the largest of the day. A Ploughman's Lunch would never do. Nonetheless, the deception persists, and the dish is now standard pub-grub all across Britain. Saw the video
If you're particularly resourceful, you might find pickled onions on this side of the water, but only at a shop that specializes in British (or German) fare. Beware jars of plain boiled onions or those teeny pickled onions intended for use in cocktails. German Kräuter Zweibeln tend to include dill; British pickled onions do not.
First served: Beltane 1993
Last modified: © May 2001