This little pickle is found everywhere in The Yucatan on Tacos, Salbuches, Panuchos, on the side of Pibil, or sitting by itself on the plate next to the main course. Easy to make, although the second ingredient may be difficult to find, the recipe uses only red onion, sour oranges, boiling water, and salt.
Getting everything ready:
– Boil some water on the stove, in either a tea kettle or a soup pot.
– Slice the red onion julienne style, to make long narrow strips.
– Juice sour oranges, enough to cover the sliced onion.
Putting it all together:
– When the water has boiled (if you’ve boiled it in a tea kettle, then pour it into a large bowl), turn off the heat and add the sliced onion to the water.
– Let sit for about half a minute, 30 seconds.
– Drain the hot water off of the onions.
– Rinse the onions in cold water to stop them from softening further.
– Put them into a clean bowl.
– Cover them with the juice of the sour oranges.
– Add a little bit of salt.
– Cover and let them sit for at least an hour.
The onions in the photograph at the left were pickled for an hour and still had a little crunch. The onions will keep in the refrigerator for about a month, and continue to pickle as they sit, softening and turning red as the sour orange juice does its magic.
You might think that an orange is an orange, but that’s not so, at least in this case anyway. The oranges that we eat as fruit and make orange juice from are a sweeter, prettier variety. Sour oranges look a little different, almost prehistoric or heirloom, with their orange and green mottled skin and their very large seeds that are clumped inside in no regular pattern.
Finding sour oranges in the States is not that easy. If you have a local Mexican food market, I’d start by asking for them there. Here in the Bay Area, I found them at the Berkeley Bowl and they were grown in southern California, so they’ve got to have some availability!