From the garden: Giardiniara

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This week brought a bumper crop of red hot cherry peppers. I love these little beauties; they have a sweet hot punch. I’ve been racking my brain trying to think of a good use for them. And then I remembered Giardiniera: an Italian sweet hot pickled vegetable mix typically used as an antipasto. Perfect! And oh, so delicious!

Once you’ve tasted this deliciousness you’ll discover a million uses for it. Here’s a simple, but scrumptious bruschetta … I hate to admit it, but I ate almost a whole loaf of this perfectly toasted sourdough bread topped with Giardiniera for dinner along with handfuls of sweet cherry tomatoes from the tomato bush outside my door. Oh, I was so stuffed, but man was it good! The flavors of summer are intoxicating.

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Or you can top an Italian sub sandwich (as they do in Chicago), or layer it on pizza, or a bagel with cream cheese, or mix it in with your salad. Or eat it straight out of the jar. Whatever, you’ll love it!

And it’s a great way to use up your summer veggies. A win-win in my book.

Oh, and did I mention it’s ridiculously easy to make? Uh, huh. Follow me.

First rough dice your veggies and dump everything together in a big bowl. Geez, don’t these colors look beautiful? I was able to throw in my Kaleidoscope carrots for a little more oomph. Yum.ee.

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Add salt.

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Fill bowl with water until veggies are covered and stir so that salt is thoroughly mixed. Then cover with saran wrap and place in your refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours.

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Once the brining time has elapsed rinse the veggies twice and transfer them to a storage jar of your choice, making sure that it has an air-tight lid.

Now, make your marinade.

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Pour the marinade over your gorgeous veggies, seal tight and store in the fridge for 2-3 days before noshing.

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How easy was that? I know! Super easy, right?

Mmmm, and tasty, too. Buon appetito!

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Giardiniera
makes 6-8 cups

4 green bell peppers
4 red bell peppers
5-10 red hot cherry peppers (adjust according to desired heat; can also use jalapeno or habanero)
2-3 celery stalks
2-3 carrots
1 white or red onion
1/2 head cauliflower

1 cup salt

Marinade:
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2T dried oregano
2t red pepper flakes
1t black pepper
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup Mirin vinegar (this is a Japanese vinegar that I love, but traditionally this recipes uses only white vinegar, so just add another cup of white vinegar—you want 2 cups total vinegar)
2 cups regular olive oil (use regular instead of extra virgin for more flavor)

1. Roughly dice all veggies same size. Add salt, cover with water, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or 24 hours.

2. Drain and rinse veggies twice. Transfer veggies to storage container that has an air tight lid. In a bowl mix the marinade and pour over veggies. Cap and store in the refrigerator for 2-3 days before using.

Enjoy!

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