This dish was described to me by one of my favorite fishmongers, Amanda Brossard of Otolith Seafood.
Her Turkish mother-in-law taught her this quickie dish, which can be a salad, a relish, a pickle or a condiment, and can be easily adapted to personal preferences by varying the herbs used, or the spices, or adding lemon, using mild or pungent onions, etc.
When you salt the onions, they become soft and milder. I am a fan of salt, so I am happy to keep that flavor, but if you don’t love it, or if you are on a lower salt diet, you can rinse the salt off after the onions soften, and pat them dry.
I have used variations of this now on salmon and lingcod — each baked, covered, at 275 F with a drizzle of olive oil, a spritz of lemon, a sprinkle of salt and pepper, for about 25 minutes, then topped with this flavor-packed salad. I have also stirred a hefty scoop into tuna and chicken salad, and tossed it over a green salad in lieu of dressing. This stuff is the bomb!
Quick Pickled Onion Salad
Makes about 1 cup
The version below is the most traditional, but you can vary it by eliminating the sumac, adding paprika, adding lemon or lime juice, or swapping fresh dill or cilantro for the parsley.
1 red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
1 small handful chopped fresh parsley
½ teaspoon sumac
Place the onion slices in the colander and toss well with coarse salt. Place them in the sink and allow them to drain, tossing occasionally. After about 30 minutes, taste the onion; it should be soft and milder than a regular raw onion.
If it is too salty, rinse and pat it dry. If you like the flavor, toss the onions in a small bowl with the remaining ingredients.