Homemade cocktail onions are a snap to make, no harder than quick refrigerator pickles. Trim the root ends from eight ounces of fresh (not frozen) pearl onions. In rolling boiling water, blanch the onions for one minute, let cool briefly, then remove the outer skins by squeezing the onions from the stem end to pop them out. A totally optional next step (but recommended, if you’re able) is to lightly smoke the cocktail onions on your grill. Ensure the onions are dry, then add them to a foil pie pan in a single layer. Smoke over very low, indirect heat for about 20 minutes, stirring a few times. I’ve found alder or oak wood smoke is particularly nice. Now, add the onions (smoked or otherwise) to a clean eight-oz Mason jar, then prepare a brine of:

1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup cup water
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1/8 cup white sugar
1/4 tsp whole mustard seed
1/4 tsp celery seed
1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 sprig fresh rosemary

Bring the brine to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove the rosemary stem then pour the hot brine into the jar to cover the onions. Let cool, then seal and refrigerate. Will keep approximately two months.


© 2022 Wexler of California / Dave Stolte