These pickles make a great accompaniment to the famous Zuni Hamburgers served at the Zuni Cafe in San Francisco. The restaurant's chef and owner, Judy Rodgers, shared the recipe with us.




  • To make the brine: In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, dried chili, star anise, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off heat, and let stand until cool to allow the spices to infuse the brine.

  • Peel onions, trim ends, and slice 3/8 inch thick. Separate the slices into rings, discarding any green sprouts and thin, leathery outer rings.

  • Uncover the brine, and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately add about one-third of the onion rings, and stir. They should turn hot pink almost immediately. As soon as the brine begins to simmer, about 20 seconds, stir them again, and remove from the heat. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, immediately remove the onions and spread on a baking sheet to cool. The onions should still be firm. Repeat with remaining onions, in two batches.

  • Once the onions have cooled, repeat the entire process in step three, exactly as above, and cooling between batches, twice more. After the third round of blanching, chill the brine, and then add the pickled onions. This process saturates the onions with fragrant brine without really cooking them, and guarantees that the color sets to a fuscia pink.

  • Transfer to sterilized jars, cover, and store, refrigerated, for up to 3 months.