Monday, May 23, 2011

Spring Giardiniera

Giardiniera is a dish of Italian origin; while it literally means "gardener," in culinary terms it refers to vegetables pickled in vinegar, which are often served either as a condiment or as part of an antipasto platter.  Because it's made ahead of time, giardiniera is great for company (perhaps for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend).  Serve as a side dish with dinner, or just leave a platter out for guests to snack on with late afternoon cocktails.

  • 1 and 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegan sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried dill
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups small cauliflower florets
  • 2 cups (3-inch) diagonally cut asparagus
  • 1 and 1/2 cups trimmed green beans
  • 1 cup (1/4-inch) diagonally cut carrot
  • 1 cup red bell pepper strips
  • 6 trimmed green onion bottoms
  • 4 halved garlic cloves
1. Combine the cider vinegar, water, sugar, salt, peppercorns, mustard seed, dill, and bay leaves in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 minutes.

2. Place all of the vegetables in a large zip-top plastic bag.  Carefully pour the vinegar mixture over the vegetables.

3. Seal the bag and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to overnight, turning occasionally.  Remove the vegetables from the bag with a slotted spoon before serving, and discard the vinegar mixture.

Nutrition Info:
6 servings (1 cup), Calories 57 

Tasting Notes:
Crisp and crunchy, which made for a nice snack.  However, because the vinegar taste is strong, I preferred the giardiniera as a side dish - a dinner of grilled Match pork with a hoisin sauce and creamy mashed potatoes with rosemary helped to cut the bite of the vinegar in the vegetables.  Don't be alarmed by the full tablespoon of salt called for - even though it sounds like a lot, I actually found this version to be a lot less salty than commercial versions. Finally, next time I wouldn't use green onions or garlic - since they are never cooked, only pickled, they had way too much of a bite.


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