Monday, June 23, 2014

Pickled Onions

My job at Cocotte has impacted my cooking style more than most places that I've worked.  I appreciate the amount of care that is put into each component on the dishes.
The restaurant just closed last night so that the inside can be completely remodeled and I won't be back to work until July 5th.  The prospect of heading back to Montana and seeing all my friends is exciting, but I'm a little sad I won't be seeing my Coco family in that time.  I feel like I've already learned so much there and can't wait to see what the coming months brings.

Sometime at the start of every summer, I start to get the insatiable desire for outdoor party food; juicy grilled burgers, crisp, cold watermelon and german potato salad with smokey chunks of bacon and crunchy red onion vinaigrette.  One of my all time favorite foods though is the humble hot dog.  Bratwurst, Polish, all-beef, whatever, I will eat it all.  There's something about stuffing a tube with ground pork that turns it into something special.

Last night, after getting done with work, I ended up with a haul of prepared foods that would expire before we reopened the restaurant.  One of these was an amazing rhubarb-cherry "ketchup."  Seeing this sparked my desire for hot dogs and I got to work on a late night snack right away.  Luckily, with Cody around for the summer, I have a refrigerator full of food that I wouldn't normally buy for myself, including a pack of those delicious Hebrew Nationals.
Mise en Place

The only thing you need to do to make a hot dog even more delicious is just balance the flavors properly.  You need sweet, acidic, creamy and you also need some texture.  Seeing as my body revolts every time I put bread in it, I used a crunchy baby romaine lettuce leaf in place of a bun.  I know what I've said about lettuce wrapped burgers, but for some reason with hot dogs it works.  It also gives you then illusion of being healthy while finishing off three hot dogs in one sitting.

I chose mayonnaise, pickled mustard seed, spicy brown mustard, sharp cheddar cheese, rhubarb cherry ketchup and pickled onions to go with my hot dog.  I've got to say, it was a pretty tasty hot dog.  Everyone should have the ability to make these various accouterments because I think they come in handy, they also keep well.  So here is a simple recipe for pickled onions, so that you may enjoy your own hot dog feast at home.

Pickled Onions

1 lb. yellow onion, clean and sliced into 1/4 inch half moons
1 tsp yellow mustard seed
1 tsp brown mustard seed
5 black peppercorns
3 cloves of garlic, skin removed and crushed
1 bay leaf
1.5 cups cider vinegar
1.5 cups sugar(I like a mix of brown and white)
2 tsp salt

Note: You can add whatever spices your heart desires.  You can also adjust the flavor levels by adding more of each component.  These make a sweeter pickle, if you desire something more tart, just omit half of the sugar.


1. Slice your onions and place them in cold water while you make your brine.  This will cut back on the bite.  
2.Mix all the other ingredients together in a 2 quart saucepan and bring to a simmer, until the sugar is melted.

3. At this point you can strain out the spices, but I think they add flavor as the pickle sits so I personally like to leave them in.  Drain the water from your onions and place them in a heat proof container, preferably stainless steel.  Pour the pickling liquid over the top, making sure to cover all of the onion.  If it doesn't, add a little more vinegar to make sure everything is submersed in the brine.

4. You can leave it out until it's cool then place it in the refrigerator.  It's best to wait an hour before eating these pickles so that they can really soak up the brine.  They get better by the day if you can keep them around that long. 

5. Go buy some hot dogs.  You'll thank me later.

No comments:

Post a Comment