If you’ve ever had an Italian beef sandwich in the Chicago area, chances are you had Giardiniera on it. Giardiniera is a mixture of garden veggies, diced small, pickled in salt and then packed in an oil / vinegar mixture.  It might be a “Chicago thing” but anyone who wants a little spicy crunch on a sandwich (or hotdog or grilled sausage) or salad, this recipe is for you. I also like this on pizza and scrambled eggs.

A couple things, because of the oil, it’s not recommended to can either in a hot water bath or pressure canner. Truth is, it gets better with a few weeks aging and it never lasts long enough to go bad, but it does need to be stored in the refrigerator. Also, don’t use olive oil because it becomes semi-solid under refrigeration, the canola oil keeps a nice consistency even when chilled.

As always, exact proportions are up to you, use what you like!

Giardiniera

makes 4 pints

INGREDIENTS

0-6 Serrano chillies thinly sliced – it depends how hot you want it.
2 red bell peppers – seeded and diced
1  – 2 celery ribs diced
1 – 2 carrots diced
1/2 head cauliflower, stems removed and florets broken apart
1/2 cup Kosher salt
3-4 cloves garlic
2 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
black pepper
1 cup white vinegar
1/2 cup small green olives (with pimiento) halved
1 cup Canola oil (not olive)

METHOD
  1. Combine the chillies (sweet and hot), celery, carrot, cauliflower in a large bowl or container. Add the salt, and toss to combine.
  2. Add enough water to just cover the vegetables, cover with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate at least 12 hours.
  3. After soaking the vegetables in salt water, rinse them twice, drain.
  4. When ready to finish, mince the garlic, put in a small bowl.
  5. Add the oregano, red pepper flakes, celery seed, black pepper to taste, and vinegar to the minced garlic, whisk to combine.
  6. Whisk in oil to garlic herb mixture.
  7. Stir in halved olives to drained vegetables, put mixture into sterile jars.
  8. DSC02554

  9. Add the oil vinegar mix, cap and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks. Mine won’t last that long.

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Until next time, Eat Well & Keep Digging!

UPDATE
2015.2.5 – More than 4 years after making this, I am in the process of making 4 qts at a time on a regular basis. Besides being great on sandwiches, we often use it as both extra vegetables and dressing on greens. It makes making a salad a snap!

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