RECIPE: Encurtido Ricky will spice up your life

Encurtido is a pickled onion relish dish that is served throughout Latin America.

When refrigeration is absent this tabletop jar of onions and vinegar will enhance whatever mystery food you find that is served.

It has many different names in rural and urban settings.  As a table condiment on a wayside village, at a local restaurant or in a fine hotel you will see it.

In Latin and South America, this is like Catsup, a great equalizer.








3 medium-sized red onions

2 Tbsp. of coarse salt

2 oz.  Jalapeno peppers     

2 oz. Cilantro

1 Tsp. Sugar

¼ Tsp black (or white) pepper

2 cups wine vinegar




  1. Remove the rood ends of the onions and peel the outside skin back to a clean edge.
  2. Slice onions in vertically in half. Place the cut side down on a board and thinly slice them into half rings.   For ease of preparation using a mandolin to slice onions into a large bowl; be careful
  3. Brine with salt. Mix two tablespoons of corse sale into the bowl with the onions and let is stand at room temperature for 1 to 3 hours.  Mix in well once or twice during the “resting/sit time”.
  4. Rinse onions. Transfer rings to a strainer and rinse under cold water. Drain well.
  5. Return onions to bowl and add other ingredients. Stir.
  6. Jalapeno peppers sliced and diced
  7. Ground black pepper (or white)
  8. Cilantro tops chopped (discard long stems)
  9. Sugar
  10. Place mixture in quart (or larger) glass jar. Add wine vinegar to the container to the brim and seal.   Let mixture rest for 24 hours for best flavor after preparation.  Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.


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