Pickled Onion Salsa

Also known as Cebollas Curtidas or Escabeche Salsa de Cebollas, it is a S-P-I-C-Y pickled onion salsa that will blow the roof of your mouth off.  I first tried it several years ago in Mexico and have been hunting for the recipe ever since.  Two years ago I tried bribing the waiter in one of the restaurants at the resort….no go.  I  then asked our beach mesero whom we befriended if he could get the recipe from the Chef…nope, still a no go.  Grrr….so I spent several months afterwards looking on-line for a similar recipe and still could not come up with one that was exactly like what was served at the resorts in Mexico.

Then last month we were back in the land of heat, sun, sand and cerveza and I had my opportunity to yet again, try and obtain the prized recipe.  I was finally successful this time.  Don’t worry, nobody lost their job (or head) over the divulging of one of Mexico’s National Treasures (seriously, it should be one, I am going to start lobbying tomorrow).

I first spotted a large bowl of the delectable salsa at the omelet station on our first foray to the Breakfast Buffet.  The fellow in charge of omelet making (who was amazing and could pump out enough omelets to feed the entire Yucatan state and then some in short order) was also in charge of making the onion salsa.

So while I was hanging around waiting for my omelet to finish, I asked him if would graciously pass along the recipe.  His English wasn’t the greatest, so it was a good thing I know a little Spanish…he said ‘sólo hay 4 ingredientes … cebolla, pimiento habañero, jugo de limón y pimienta’…. ‘¿en serio?’ I said (Really?!).  ‘Si, sólo 4 ingredientes’.  ‘PERFECTO y Muchas gracias Señor!’

I bounced back to our table carrying my freshly made omelet with the biggest grin on my face.  Hubby looked up at me and said ‘what’s up?’.   I said ‘I got it!  I finally got the onion salsa recipe! Woo-Hoo!’.

I couldn’t wait to get home (ok, maybe I could wait until at least our vacation was over) and try it out personally.  WOWZERS is all I can say.  It tastes just like I was right back at the omelet station.  This stuff is good on just about anything….omelets, enchiladas, quesadillas, chilaquilles, grilled chicken and pork, fish, sausages, hamburgs, even as a dip for tortilla chips.  If you love a peppy, very spicy salsa, then you will love this versatile condiment.  If you don’t like spicy stuff ~ you best take a pass on this recipe then.

pickled onion salsaIngredients

1 red onion, finely diced (I used my food processor, faster and less tears)
Juice of 4 limes
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 small Habañero pepper, finely diced*
Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish


Combine all ingredients and let marinate at least 8 hours or overnight.  Makes about 2 cups (depending on the size of your onion).  Will keep for a week or so in the fridge, best made in small batches though.

* If you are too chicken to use the habañero pepper, you could easily sub a jalapeño or serrano pepper.

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