Whenever we went to the fish n' chip shop as kids, my Dad would invariably get a pickled onion in a brown paper bag to eat while we waited for our meal to be prepared. He would offer us a bite, and I would usually take a tentative nibble - it was so sour and so strong, I couldn't understand why he loved them so much, but I didn't want him to stop offering them to me.
Anyway, this Christmas I thought I'd make a jar of pickled onions for my Dad, so he has a ready store on hand. It's really ridiculously easy - although I haven't taste tested them yet, so here's hoping they're good!
1kg small pickling onions (I used normal brown onions as I couldn't find pickling ones)
spices (I used a small handful of bay leaves and peppercorns)
Peel and trim the onions, being careful not to remove the whole root as this will keep the onion together. To make the brine, dissolve 100gm salt for every litre of water (you will need enough water to cover the onions in a bowl). Leave to soak overnight.
Drain and rinse the onions, pat dry with a cloth. Dissolve about 4tbs sugar in the vinegar by warming gently over the stove. Add the spices to your own taste and strength, then leave to cool completely. Sterilise the jar by washing it thoroughly in warm, soapy water then placing it into a slow oven for 15 minutes or so. Remove the jar and let it cool down enough that you can touch it, then place your onions in, pouring the vinegar over the top so that all the onions are covered.
Seal and store for up to 3 months (apparently, the longer you leave them, the better they are - ie. the more face-pulling will happen when your dad eats one).