It takes a lot for me to get excited about a turkey and cheese sandwich. A lot. But, boy, does this giardiniera do the trick.
Having never tried giardiniera during my one visit to Chi-town, the concept for this as a sandwich topping was one I could kind of care less about. I don't eat hot dogs and rarely eat Italian beef sandwiches, so this wasn't really on my "to make" list. However, after watching a couple episodes of the Sandwich King, along with reading so many great reviews on Jeff Mauro's recipe, my mind was changed and I decided I had to at least try it.
I'm not going to lie, I had my doubts. Especially after pulling it out of the refrigerator after the initial 24 hour saltwater brine process. To say it smelled unappetizing may be an understatement. My husband wasn't convinced that it would be edible, but I was only three small steps away from completion, so I persevered. Thank God I did. The end result was a slightly spicy, flavorful topping that I think my sandwich is so much better for being topped with. Even my husband, who has a thing against crunchy, uncooked vegetables seem to really enjoy this.
I followed the recipe as written using five Serrano peppers. It gave it a really nice, but not overpowering heat. I highly recommend making sure the saltwater brine is rinsed off the veggies thoroughly after their first night in the fridge. If you don't do a good job rinsing, I understand the giardiniera may turn out too salty. This is also one of those condiments that just gets better with age, which is a nice bonus because it makes a lot. And we all know I love a recipe that I can share with a friend or three.
Homemade Hot Giardiniera
Yield: 3 - 4 cupsIngredients:
- 1/4 cup table salt
- 1 cup small-diced carrots
- 1 cup tiny cauliflower florets
- 4 to 8 Serrano peppers, sliced (depending on heat level desired)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 stalk celery, diced small
- 1 red bell pepper, diced small
- 2 cups canola oil
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine 2 cups water and the salt in a glass or non-reactive bowl. Mix until the salt is dissolved. Add the carrots, cauliflower, Serranos, garlic, celery and bell pepper to the salt water and stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Day 2, drain and rinse the vegetables. In a clean bowl, mix together the oil with the oregano and pepper. Add the vegetables and mix to combine. Allow to marinate overnight. Giardiniera will only get better with time. After 2 days at the most in the bowl, you can place in air-tight mason jars and keep in the fridge for at least 2 to 3 weeks.
Source: Food Network's Sandwich King, Jeff Mauro