When Woody and I visited Hector Wong in Hawaii, a year ago December, we discovered what a great savory cook he is as well as a baker. One of the many dishes that he made for us from his Peruvian roots I knew I would have to replicate on our return home. It is called salsa criolla, and is served as a condiment for every dish, akin to kimchee for Koreans or ketchup for Americans. It also works well as a salad. Hector says that he also calls the recipe cáscara which means skin of a fruit or egg. This is no doubt because the onions are so thinly sliced and on marination become so delightfully crisp. Although my intention was to make it right away, somehow time got away from me but it was not forgotten. Here is the recipe for you to enjoy as well. I've named it Oinyums!
1 large onion 1 tablespoon sea salt (More salt is fine. It will accelerate the wilt and any excess is washed off.) 1 lemon, well scrubbed Optional one small hot pepper of your desired heat!
Slice the onion into rings, as thinly as possible. Set the onion rings into a glass bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Toss to mix well and and let them sit for 1 hour til wilted. Drain and discard the liquid. Squeeze the lemon, saving the empty lemon shells and refrigerate the juice. Rinse the onions well under running water. Return them to the bowl. Add cold water to cover and the empty lemon shells. Allow them to soak for 1 hour or longer. Squeeze the lemon shells to release their oil from the lemon peel into the water. Thinly slice the hot pepper into the onions. Drain and stir in the lemon juice.
Refrigerate for a minimum of one hour until serving to blend the flavors. The onions stay crunchy for several days.