This recipe was part of a chef's challenge in which Peter Pastan made dinner for 4 that cost a total of $11.55.
- 4 cups water
- About 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 large onion (red, white or yellow)
- 1 to 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle (may substitute a pinch of ground cumin)
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat, then add about 2 tablespoons of the salt.
Meanwhile, peel the onion. Slice off and discard the root and tip ends. Thinly slice the onion lengthwise along the root-to-tip axis (the opposite direction from which you'd be slicing it if you were making onion rings).
Add the onion to the boiling water and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until softened somewhat but still slightly crunchy. Transfer the onions to a colander set in the sink and rinse under cold running water just until warm but not cold.
Transfer the onions to a serving bowl, drizzle with vinegar and sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Toss well to coat evenly. Set aside, stirring occasionally to coat well with the vinegar, which is the pickling agent. Serve at room temperature.
From chef Peter Pastan of Obelisk restaurant in Northwest Washington.
Tested by The Washington Post.
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