I've been scrambling to get the best out of the Farmer's Markets before they close down for the season. Although here in Northern California there are many stands open year-round, one can only eat so much kale and brussels sprouts. So in the last few weeks of great produce, I've been stocking up on goodies.
One thing I love but had never made before is the classic pickled Italian antipasto or salad condiment, Giardiniera. My best friend here in the Bay Area is Italian and casually mentioned it to me one day recently. That was enough to inflame a craving so I decided it was time to try my hand at such a simple but yummy food. Here's my first spin at "Hot Italian-style Giardiniera."
Now, I like tart foods. And, I like spicy foods. But this stuff can be positively addicting with its tartness, saltiness, spicy goodness. It's perfect to eat with something rich like leftover roast beef sandwiches, Italian salumi or even as part of a lovely rice salad. You can also alter it to use any kind of vegetables you like. Carrots, Celery, Cauliflower, Onions, Olives, Sweet Peppers are standard but you can go in any number of directions with your favorite salad-type vegetables. So, let out your creativity and give it a try!
Here's my initial recipe, which I will be altering in coming months. This is based on another recipe I'd seen and had way too much salt. I cut back, but still it wasn't right. Still very edible, but it needed to be eaten with something fatty to not be too harsh. Stay tuned, I'll post a perfected recipe later.
For now, we can start with:
3 small serrano chiles, de-seeded and chopped
6 scallions, chopped, white and light-green only, chopped
2 c. fresh cauliflower florets
6-8 pepperoncini, diced
1 orange bell pepper, small dice
1 celery stalk, small dice
6-8 baby carrots, small dice
2 cloves garlic, whole and peeled
1/4 c. kosher salt
1 T. dried oregano
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. celery seeds
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. black peppercorns, whole
6-8 large meaty green olives, pitted and chopped
1 c. white vinegar (should use white wine vinegar instead)
1 c. extra virgin olive oil
1. Combine all vegetables in a large glass bowl. Dissolve salt in 2 cups water, pour over vegetables and add enough additional water to complete cover the vegetables. Cover bowl and refrigerate overnight.
2. The next day, drain and rinse the vegetables and pat dry. Rinse bowl and place the dried vegetables pack in the bowl. Mix all the spices, olives, oil and vinegar. Pour over the vegetables and gently stir to cover. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator at least 48 hours before eating, stirring with a large spoon every few hours.
Next time, I'll improve a bit on the salting process and also let it wait even longer before eating. I'll likely make enough to preserve several jars as well. In the meantime, this looks like a decent recipe.