Quick pickles are basically condiment sunshine: they’re bright, cheery, and nobody’s ever mad to see them. I think this is especially true for pickled red onions, which improve everything they touch and ask so very little of you in return. If you can mix sliced onions with seasoned vinegar, you’ll be rewarded with a versatile condiment that lasts for weeks in the fridge—if not months.
But as I recently learned, the king of fridge pickles can be simplified even further. All you truly need to pickle a vegetable is some form of acid and salt; anything else, like sugar or herbs, is a bonus. Do you know what’s mostly salt and granulated lime juice—and, as a bonus, contains delicious spices? Tajín. In theory, you can make slightly spicy, super lime-y pickled onions with just two ingredients: onions and Tajín.
In practice, this is more of a three-ingredient pickle; I add sugar because I think pickled onions need it, but if you’re avoiding sugar feel free to skip it. Either way, there’s no messing around with boiling vinegar or any manner of brine at all because the onions pickle in their own liquid.
The result is every bit as bright and crunchy as you’d expect from pickled red onions, but way more intense and flavorful. It’s as if someone took the iconic chile-and-lime flavour of Tajín and red onion’s sharp sweetness, mashed them together, and cranked the intensity dial up to the limit.
To make Tajín-ions of your very own, you will need one medium red onion, two to three tablespoons of Tajín, and an optional teaspoon of sugar. Thinly slice the onion into whatever shape you like—I’m a half moons kind of girl—then sprinkle the seasonings on top and massage until the onions soften a bit. (A drizzle of olive oil and/or some extra lime zest are great here too, but not necessary by any means.) Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed. You can eat them right away, but an overnight rest in the fridge turns them into something like marinated onion candy:
I’m struggling to think of a dish that wouldn’t be improved by a sprinkling of ever-so-slightly spicy red onions: nachos and tacos are a given, but these would improve everything from scrambled eggs to a bowl of plain white rice. I put these on a frico egg and avocado breakfast taco situation, which was exactly as wonderful as it sounds.