One of my favorite springtime moments is when the new onions start appearing at the farmers' markets. While generally related to the storage onion we all know, these freshly picked, uncured onions are smaller, sweeter, and more succulent than their elderly brethren. They typically still have their green stems attached, which are also entirely edible. Much like their cousin, the ramp, they let off a musky scent if placed in your refrigerator unwrapped.
These fresh, spring onions make for good eating. They're great sliced in half and grilled or caramelized until silky and tossed with pasta. They also happen to make an excellent pickle.
The thing I like most about pickled spring onions is their flexibility. The great majority of pickled vegetables out there are just one-trick ponies, but this particular pickle can play a number of roles. Dolloped on top of a burger, a basic cookout becomes quite gourmet. Need to bring an appetizer to a party? Toast baguette rounds, add a smear of creamy goat cheese and top with a bit of pickled onion. A bowl of baby arugula becomes a salad with a forkful of pickled onions and a drizzle of olive oil.
You get the picture.
Before You Get Started
This recipe is scaled to make a single pint of pickles. You're welcome to increase or decrease the recipe as you see fit.
You can use plain old storage onions in this recipe, if you can't find bundles of the new ones. They're not as sweet, but they're a doable substitute.
If you're planning a Memorial Day barbecue, make sure to add a jar of these pickles to the condiment table.
About the author: Marisa McClellan is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated pickler who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her jams, pickles and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first book, also called Food in Jars, is now available.