Some time ago, I was asked to appear on the now defunct food show ‘Market Kitchen: Big Adventure’ in my capacity as a blogger and as a resident within the glorious county of Essex. The series highlighted produce from different regions across the UK and prior to filming I did wonder what we would focus on. Well, the three ingredients tied to Essex were Maldon Sea salt, which was sort of a given, followed by goats’ cheese and um.....leeks?
If only Rosanna Pink onions had made the grade as an Essexian (sic) vegetable to celebrate. For they are grown in the surrounds of Colchester, Britain’s oldest town. I really do wish that Rosanna onions had popped up because as alliums go, they are pretty nifty and versatile. Being slighter milder in flavour than conventional brown or red onions, I would definitely recommend them as a stalwart base ingredient for stocks, sauces and soups.
But because of their colour it would be a shame to dismiss this blushing onion to that purpose alone.
Light, quick pickling is always a good step forward in my opinion. Visually, this technique tends to bring out the best in a vegetable, making it look bright and punchy. Plus, it’s simple and easy to do. I pickled some Rosanna onions the other day to accompany some cochinita pibil and it really was a match made in heaven. For the uninitiated, cochinita pibil is a gorgeous slow-cooked dish originating from Mexico - or the Yucatán peninsula to be precise.
Traditionally it consists of pork shoulder that has been marinated in a mixture of sour citrus juices, herbs, spices, garlic and the all-important addition of a luminous paste blended from annatto seed. Then it is gently roasted in a parcel of banana leaves for hours and hours.
A slightly tweaked recipe for this succulent meal will follow, but the most important part at the end is the addition of pickled onions which cut through the richness of the meat perfectly.