In the seemingly endless world of condiments, I have found yet another to obsess about. Giardiniera (pronounced jar-deen-YAIR-uh, Italian for “from the garden”), is a spicy, pickled mélange of vegetables, marinated in a zesty cocktail of oil, vinegar, herbs & spices and it’s my new “must have” in the refrigerator.
What sparked my recent obsession is a pizza enjoyed at a little restaurant in the tiny burg of Willernie, Minnesota, which is surrounded on all sides by another small town, Mahtomedi. Willernie’s quaint main street is home to Roma Restaurant and Wine Bar, a cozy Italian place with authentic food and atmosphere, plus there’s a quality craft beer list to please Pete and generous wine pours to please you-know-who.
Appropriately, the pizza I referred to is a wood-fired beauty called The Giardiniera, comprised of marinara, onions, mushrooms, peppers, olives, roma tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and the star of the show, spicy giardiniera.
Shortly after I had this pizza for the first time, I saw a recipe for giardiniera on New York Times Cooking, one of my go-to sources for recipes that always work. And of course, me being me, I had already thought, “I must make some!” Great timing, dontcha think?
The recipe is easy, adaptable, and delicious! The only hard part is waiting a few days for the flavors to meld and mellow a tad. You can vary the veggies and level of spiciness (next time I think I’ll add onions) and it keeps for weeks in the fridge. Serve as an addition to sandwiches, on top a vegan Caesar salad, as part of an antipasto platter, or on pizza (yes, please!). Enjoy!
If, like me, you end up with extra veggies, make a little extra dressing in a pint jar and add the vegetables
4 serrano peppers, thinly sliced, with seeds removed
2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 celery ribs, sliced or julienned
3 carrots, sliced or julienned
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets
½ cup kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, slivered
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon crushed black peppercorns
1 cup white vinegar
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup grapeseed or canola oil
In a large bowl, using your hands, mix the vegetables and salt until well combined. Cover the vegetables with water. Cover the bowl and allow the mixture to sit, unrefrigerated, for 8 to 12 hours.
Drain the vegetables in a colander and rinse thoroughly. Sterilize 2 quart-size glass jars, with lids, in the dishwasher or by submerging them in boiling water for 10 minutes.
In one sterilized jar, combine the garlic and all the herbs and spices; add the vinegar and oil and shake well to emulsify the dressing. Pour half the dressing into the other jar.
Pack the vegetables into the jars. If vegetables are not completely coated, make and add more dressing. Screw lids onto jars and refrigerate. Allow the mixture to mellow for a couple of days before serving. Fills two quart jars (I ended up with extra veggies, so I made a little extra dressing in a pint jar and add the vegetables).