You may have noticed that I eat a lot of giardiniera, Italian pickled vegetables, in my salads. I LOVE the pickled, vinegar-y crunch that these veggies provide, and they are a great way to spice up a bed of spinach and other veggies without adding any dressing at all. I buy jar after jar, sometimes going through a half a jar at one meal or even as a snack. I can’t get enough!
So I decided to try to make my own.
I didn’t know exactly how these would turn out, so I made a small batch as an experiment. I chopped about a cup each of cauliflower and carrots.
I made a brine using about 1/2 cup of sea salt and enough water to just cover the veggies.
The recipe that I loosely based this on said to brine them overnight, but when do I ever follow a recipe? I went and took a bubble bath with my bubbles from the Foodbuzz Festival (thanks, Mardi!) and when I was done waited about an hour until I drained and rinsed the veggies. The brining made them a little brighter.
I wanted spicy vegetables, so I shook a bunch of red pepper flakes on to them and tossed them all around before adding pickling spices.
Finally, I covered the whole mess with white vinegar and tossed in a couple of teaspoons of my beloved habanero oil. I said I wanted them spicy.
The recipe said to let them sit for 48 hours, but I couldn’t wait and ate half of them after only 24. SO good. The pickling spices I used had some cloves which gave them a little bit of sweetness which I would not want in my next batch, but other than that they were quite spicy, very crunchy, and I ate so many that my mouth started to hurt and I had to stop.
Now that I know how easy it is, I will be adding all sorts of veggies to the mix. So far I have only eaten these on top of a salad, but I can definitely also see these veggies in a rough chopped relish for a cheese/Ploughman’s type sandwich.
Simple and delicious.