Sunday, March 19, 2006

A New Condiment

Today was a very nice day. It was forcasted to be around 40º, but it must have been up over 50º. It was so nice, the kids spent the whole day outside. Literally. They should sleep very good tonight, all that running around... But since it was so nice, we decided the grill needed to be used for Sunday Company Dinner. And one of our favorite meals is BBQ chicken, so that's what we did. To accompany I also made roasted garlic mashed potatoes, banana cream pie, cole slaw, and a chickpea salad. A while back I had made a chickpea salad that I found in a Mexican cookbook. You can find my original encounter here. It called for pickled red onions, which it also gave a recipe for. While I thought it was good, I always thought it could use some small changes, and today I played with those changes. And I daresay, these pickled red onions are going to be a staple for the summer pantry. I think they make a salad awesome, and they would make an incredible addition to a sandwich or a burger. Or for that matter, just a plain old hot dog would be dressed up by this simple condiment.

What is unique about these pickled onions is that they are lightly sauteed first to soften them. And while they are not cooked enough to carmalize, they are cooked enough to extract the sharpness usually found in an onion. They still retain their beautiful purple/red color, and the flavor is just incredible. I think I could eat them straight up. The difference for me this time I think was the choice of herb. The original recipe called for Mexican Oregano, which I find to be really pungent and musky, and I honestly don't care for it a whole lot. I don't care too much for regular oregano in the first place- at least not by itself. I like it in a blend- like an Italian Herb blend, but by itself, you can keep it, it's too woody for my taste. Today I eliminated the oregano and used thyme- and that was absolutely the perfect accompaniment.

Todays salad was a can of chickpeas-drained, broccoli flowerets, baby carrots-cut into slivers, a yellow bell pepper-diced, and one batch of pickled red onions. The onions themselves act as a dressing to pull together the rest of the vegetables, and it just sings. Every bite is delicious. I think if you wanted to, you could add some whole wheat rotini and make a meal out of the salad by itself. It's that good. The modified recipe for the pickled onions can be found here in The Trove. Make them! You won't be sorry. And swap out the thyme if you want. I think any dried herb would work just fine here- even an herb blend, like Herbes de Provence. Or oregano if that is your preference, just give them a try, I promise you won't be sorry!


the rachel said...

i can't stop thinking about worms when i see that picture...

Erika said...