Pickled Red Onions (Cebollas en Escabeche de Naranja Agria)

Cebolla en escaveche

When I was last in Tulum, Mexico I found that most plates were served with these delicious red onions as a topping and honestly they made everything so delicious!  There were several variations from fresh, to spicy, pickled in vinegar, etc. but I loved the fresh ones the best.  They were added to everything and sometimes even served on the side so you could continue adding them as you desired.  Traditionally, they are mostly for meat plates like cochinita pibil or to be served with seafood but I found that they brighten up even vegetable dishes.  The secret ingredient in this recipe is bitter orange.  I often pickle my onions with lime juice, as you have seen before in my recipes, but there is something so special about bitter oranges that I cannot describe when paired with a red onion.

Some groceries stores do carry bitter oranges but just in case you can’t find them look for the juice that is bottled.  I have tried this recipe with both fresh and bottled juice and it’s delicious either way.  Obviously, always go for the fresh bitter oranges but if you can’t find them settle for a good quality bitter orange juice.

So here is a super simple recipe on how to make them so you can add them to everything!

Yields approximately 1.5 cups

1/2 red onion
1 cup bitter orange juice
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of oregano
1/2 of habanero pepper, thinly sliced (optional)

- Remove the skin from your red onion and thinly slice

- Place the red onion in a bowl and add the black pepper, sea salt, oregano, habanero (optional) and bitter orange juice.

- Allow the onions to pickle for at least 1/2 hour.  That’s it!

Click Play to Watch Step by Step Video