I don’t know what it’s like in other MidWestern cities, but you can’t swing an Italian Beef Sammich around about these parts without hitting some giardiniera – spicy (or not) veggies lightly pickled and then covered in oil – what is there not to love? So, when I saw Jeff Mauro, the newest Food Network Star make his own, I knew I would be making me some of that stuff.
And before you get all freaked out about pickling – this is a very simple fresh pickle that calls for no special equipment or canning, so just chill out and start choppin’ those veggies.
Ermmm, except… I should note that I monkeyed around just a wee, tiny bit with the Mr. Mauro’s veggie proportions, based on what I had on hand and what worked for me at the moment, and I substituted dried garlic (you really should look for this stuff – it beats the HECK out of that jarred garlic crap) for freshly minced because my local market’s supply was sadly lacking in quality; if you want to make it exactly as he did, his recipe is here.
•1/2 cup diced carrots
•1/2 cup diced celery – I tossed in some of the celery tops as well
•4 serrano chiles, sliced into rounds – if you’d like a milder giardiniera, scrape out the seeds
•1 cup small cauliflower florets, chopped
•2 tsp dried garlic – from The Spice House
•1 cup diced red bell pepper
•1/4 cup white vinegar plus 1 tsp sugar
•3 tablespoons salt
•2-1/2 cups canola oil
•1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Combine your diced and chopped and otherwise handled veggies together in a pot with the vinegar and sugar and cover with water.
Stir in the salt and bring to a boil, then simmer for ten to fifteen minutes – you want your veggies to still be crisp and the colors bright.
Remove from the heat, drain, and pop in the fridge to cool for at least one hour.
Stir the canola and olive oils together and pour over the cooled, drained veggies.
Store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
I made mine on Friday night, cooled the veggies overnight, and added the oil in the morning. By that evening my giardiniera was ready and more than delicious spread on some homemade sourdough bread – but I bet it’d work a treat with pita or chips or as part of an antipasto platter.
NOTE: Sadly, this oil-based pickle mix is not safe to can in a home kitchen. BUT, may I suggest you check out Ciao! Piccolo – just about as tasty (some say more so), and wicked simple to process at home, so you’ll always have a jar (or six) at hand. My sister’s Saturday Wine Downs would not be complete without a jar or two of this fine chopped pickle.