The past few days have been unseasonably warm and that’s certainly fine with me.
I’ve enjoyed opening the windows, going on long walks, and drives with the windows down and sunroof open. But it’s not lasting long as temps will be dropping to freezing. Boo! Two thumbs down. I’ve got Spring fever! And I think that fever might be what first attracted me to giardiniera. That and the vibrant colors. I love bold colors, especially in food! It’s like nature’s way of saying “Check me out! Aren’t I pretty enough to eat?” According to ItalianBeef.com, loosely translated, giardiniera means “from the garden” in Italian. I like that! But how do you pronounce it? It’s not as difficult to pronounce as it looks: jar-DEE-nyair-ah, or jar-DEE-nyair for short.
If the meaning didn’t give it away, giardiniera is a variety of garden vegetables that are pickled and jarred in oil. Giardiniera can be used to liven up any dish but the most notable one where it’s a MUST is the Italian Beef Sandwich. It’s because of our Illinois Italian Beef Sandwich that we made as part of our “50 States, 50 Sandwiches, 50 Weeks” series that I learned about giardiniera.
It prompted us to make our version which turned out so much better than the jarred one we purchased at the store. We loved it so much we thought it was deserving of its own post.
In addition to Italian Beef, giardiniera is commonly added to pizza, salad, eggs or as a side. Our version is quick and easy to make, filling a 32 oz. mason jar. Because the vegetables are blanched in vinegar then packed in oil and refrigerated, this giardiniera should last about a month, but please use your judgment. So in celebration of Spring or the upcoming Spring weather depending on where you are, why not make a batch of Italian Giardiniera?
- 1 cup cauliflower, chopped into even small florets
- ¾ cup bell pepper, chopped
- ¾ cup carrots, chopped
- ¾ cup red onion, chopped
- ¾ cup celery (about 3 stalks), chopped
- 2 large jalapenos, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 3 cups white vinegar
- 1 cup water
- 2 Tbsps. salt
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- ¾ cup green olives, sliced in half
- ½ tsp. each dried basil, oregano, salt, thyme
- Olive oil
- When the vegetables are chopped, bring vinegar, water, salt, sugar, and lemon juice to a boil.
- Add vegetables (no olives or spices) and boil only 3 minutes. No more.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer vegetables to a bowl and add the olives and remaining seasoning and mix together
- Transfer to a 32 oz. mason jar and pour in olive oil until vegetables are completely covered. Cover and refrigerate. It should last about a month in the fridge.
If you're feeling extra bold and spicy, add ¼-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper to the seasonings.