I just fell in love with this Italian Pickled Veggies recipe. You have so many ways to enjoy it, and it's not complicate to make either. Very basic & Italian, and I will share some of my own ways of enjoying it just as an inspiration-- I'm sure you will come up some more creative ways to use it!
The name Giardiniera came from "Giardino" in Italian, which means "Garden". That's another reason I loved it, what a beautiful and perfect name for this refreshing dish!
Step 1: Ingredients: Oil & Veggie Part
- For the oil part, you will need 2 cups of olive oil, 1 lemon (if you want to substitute some of the vinegar), 4-5 cloves of garlic. The ratio is like this, but you might need to adjust the amount based on how many vegetables you will use.
- For the Veggie part, basically you can use whatever you like. But I still want to give you my own recommendations:
--Bell Pepper: MUST HAVE, they are just so wonderful, so tender and sweet. (But I don't recommend the small sweet peppers, they have less flesh and don't taste as good as the bell peppers in this recipe. We used them just for the experiment)
--Cauliflower: Crunchy and sweet at the same time, we used a purple one just for better looking, they taste the same with the white ones and orange ones.
--Carrots: Also crunchy and sweet.
--Celery: Crunchy, refreshing.
--Jalapeño: Go for it if you love spicy just as I do.
Some other good choices are eggplant, bamboo shoot and oyster mushroom (I've tried them all so I can guarantee).
Step 2: Ingredients: Vinegar & Herbs Part
Oil and vinegar always come together, so here is the vinegar and herbs part.
- For the vinegar part, you will need 4 cups of white vinegar, 1 cup red wine vinegar, and kosher salt to your own taste.
- For the herbs part, I used 5 Bay leaves, and 1 tsp of black peppercorn, and 1 tsp Szechwan peppercorn. Some other good herb recommendations are:
Again, you can always adjust the amount of vinegar you use based on your preference of sour and the amount of vegetable you will use, just keep it rational.
Step 3: Roast Your Peppers
This is the only ingredient that needs to be prepared separately. But bell pepper tastes so good and it definitely worth it.
Clean all your bell peppers and cut them in half. Remove the seeds and put them on a baking pan with the skin on top, preheat oven to 400°F and bake for 5-10 minutes until it blistered and the skin turned black. Cool the pepper before you peel it. It would be very easy to peel as long as you baked them correctly.
Cut the pepper flesh into large pieces.
Step 4: Prepare All the Other Ingredients
Put the Vinegar & Herbs part into a pot, add 2-3 cups of water. You can also squeeze some lemon juice as a substitute of vinegar. You can use a cheesecloth to wrap the herbs to easily remove them in the end.
Add all the vegetables except bell peppers into the pot, make it to a boil and then simmer for 5-10 minutes, until they softened and fully cooked.
Drain the veggies and put it aside with the pepper flesh.
Step 5: Infuse Your Oil
Put olive oil into the pan/pot along with chopped garlic, if you love spicy just as I do I highly recommend some Thai chillies to infuse as well.
Use low heat to let the flavors infuse into the oil for about 10 minutes.
Drain the oil into the veggie mix (please use an air tight container to store them, we used a large bowl here just for a clear photo shooting).
Mix the veggie and the oil together, and make sure that the oil can just cover all the veggies in the container.
Step 6: Now Ready to Enjoy!
Put the container into the fridge, and you can enjoy them after about 1 hour. However, I do highly recommend to refrigerate them overnight before you enjoy them (only if you can resist the urge of eating it right away lol).
Step 7: Time to Be Creative-- 1st Way to Enjoy It
Most simple way to enjoy your Giardiniera is to pair it with Italian bread, along with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Great tip: use the olive oil inside the container of Giardiniera! The flavor is just perfect!
Step 8: Time to Be Creative-- 2nd Way to Enjoy It
Make Italian Beef Sandwich!! My favorite way to enjoy it. Actually I started to make my own Giardiniera just after I had some perfect Italian Beef Sandwiches (they call it Sangwitch hahah) in Chicago.
The bread will absorb the oil of the pickled veggies, with the tender roasted beef and the beef broth, you can never go wrong with that.
I will just write a short and brief version of how to make the sandwich:
1. Grill some sliced onion, and add beef broth when it turned soft and clear.
2. Simmer the onion in the broth for about 5-10 minutes.
3. Boil some roasted beef in the broth for about 2-3 minutes as well.
4. Slice your Italian bread and toast it if you want to. Put your HOMEMADE GIARDINIERA on one side of the bread, and roasted beef on the other side.
5. Dip into the beef broth and Viola! I just love how messy it can be...
Step 9: Time to Be Creative-- 3rd and More Ways to Enjoy It
Another great way to enjoy it is the finger food party! Serve it along with other finger foods on a snack party and that would make you the Queen! Or King.
Here we used rosemary crackers with salami, mozzarella cheese and basil, also rosemary crackers with the giardiniera.
Good thing about this recipe is that you can always prepare ahead. If the container is air tight and is in the fridge, you can store it for up to two weeks (but we always finish them before that). People will be impressed by your homemade Giardiniera and don't tell them that it's actually very easy to make!
Hope you will like this recipe, and if you do, please vote for me in the oil & vinegar contest and also the cooking basic contest! Thanks a lot and Bon Appetit!