In the south, pickled onions are commonly referred to as bar food. Lee’s Restaurant was my great grandmother’s restaurant in Pacoima, CA. in the 1950’s. Her bar was always full of tasty treats such as pickled onions; pickled ham hocks, pickled pig feet, and spicy pickles. These treats encouraged patrons to order more drinks.
1 ½ lbs. small yellow onions, 1 1/2 lbs. small white onions, 2 cup water, 1/4 cup salt, 1 quart distilled white vinegar, 2 tsp. dried spaghetti sauce mix, 2 T. liquid crab boil 2 ½ T. crushed red pepper, 5 bay leaves, 1 T. fresh basil.
Peel onions and place them in a glass container, DO NOT USE METAL. In a separate container, mix the water and salt. Pour this mixture over the onions; allow to soak 6 to 8 hours. Mix the vinegar, spaghetti sauce, and crab boil together, set aside. In a large glass jar you are going to layer the ingredients in this order: crushed peppers, basil, bay leaves, 1/3 of the onions—repeat this process till the jar is full. When the jar is full pour in the vinegar mixture. Tightly close the jar and refrigerate for seven days. Now it’s time to get your drink on with your homemade salty treat.