Please welcome guest-blogger Kristy of Sassy Molassy, who is here to share her fantastic giardiniera recipe. Giardiniera, pronounced jar-din-air-ah, is pickled, hot, and tangy Italian vegetables, often used as a condiment. It's not difficult, but it does take some time. This recipe makes a big batch probably good for 6 to 8 servings. We added feta and cubed ham and served with whole grain bread. A great lunch or light, spring dinner.
Effort: 3/4 assed
Take it away, Kristy:
About a year ago, my husband and I entered into a Food Network-fueled obsession with Italian beef. I’d been making a crock pot version for years, but it was shredded and authentic=shaved. After a few expensive failures, we decided to stick with our tried and true crock pot recipe, but something revolutionary to our eating did come out of the whole experience: homemade giardiniera! You may be wondering why the exclamation point, but once you eat it, you’ll know.
You can buy something called giardiniera at the grocery store, but it bears little resemblance to this recipe. What I make is an adaptation to a recipe for a “street-style” condiment that I found online and, sadly, can no longer locate. Most recipes include cauliflower, which I leave out because a) I don’t like it and b) it seems like it a weird addition that never really belong and only got stuck in there because the street vendors’ wives had a bumper crop of the stuff to get rid of.
Now, I will admit that I’m not a very precise or recipe-following cook. The amounts of each veggie here can be easily adjusted to reflect personal taste, but I wouldn’t mess around too much with the dressing. This isn’t 100% half-assed, as there are knives and steps involved, but the yield will last you a few weeks and make every sandwich, salad, and leftover plain noodle you eat taste like a spicy picnic by the lake after a visit to your favorite farmer’s market. My neighbors eat every bit that I give them immediately with tortilla chips, so there’s that, too.
Step one: the chopping
Rinse the following veggies and chop into a fairly uniform ½ inch dice:
3 red or red, yellow, and orange bell peppers, seeded
3-5 ribs celery
1 cup baby carrots or equivalent grown-up carrots
6 serrano chiles (similar to jalapenos but better, can sub jalapenos if you must)
This will yield more than you think. I use a larger-than-lunch-sized Gladware container. I also frequently double or even triple the recipe and then can it.*
Put all the veggies in your container of choice and mix in ¼ cup of salt. (Do not double the salt unless you at least triple the veggies. And don’t worry, most of it gets rinsed away.) Add enough water to cover and let soak several hours or overnight (or, ahem, three days while you are busy and/or forgetful).
Step two: the dressing
When ready to proceed, pour your veggies in a big colander and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Leave it to drain while you make the dressing. A caveat about the dressing: don’t be tempted to fancy it up with olive oil or fancy vinegars. Just don’t.
In a large measuring cup or small glass bowl, place:
3-5 cloves minced or pressed garlic
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1 Tbsp dried oregano or Italian seasoning
1/3 tsp black pepper
¾ cup canola oil
Whisk in 1 cup white vinegar to form an emulsion. Return veggies to container and cover with dressing, stirring to coat evenly. Let sit in the fridge several hours before eating.
Cook one small bag of pearled barley according to package directions. I throw mine in the rice cooker. Dump out into a large casserole dish and stir occasionally tuntil cool. Add 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, about 1 cup giardiniera with dressing, ½ cup crumbled goat cheese or feta, and anything else your heart desires. I sometimes add chopped ham or salami to make it heartier for lunch.
For a printable version of this recipe, click here.