Giardiniera is a wonder condiment, turning any sandwich into a burst of flavor. Here is our Chicago-style recipe with plenty of chili peppers, vegetables and seasonings.
Giardiniera is something we encounter on a regular basis. Patty and I are from the Chicago area, and Chicago is well-known for its selection of beef sandwiches. If you're from Chicago or anywhere near there, you can't order a beef sandwich without giardiniera. It's a travesty. If you want funny looks shot your way, go ahead and order one and tell them to hold the giardiniera.
Okay, I'm half-joking, but only half. Seriously, giardiniera is a tasty condiment you can enjoy on any number of sandwiches, and not only at the ubiquitous beef joints. I personally love it piled onto a hot dog over over a crispy toasted sub sandwich. We have a chain sandwich shop nearby and we enjoy their flatbread sandwiches. They have a good giardiniera that I almost always order. Another small place nearby, though, makes their own homemade version that is outstanding. There is something about fresh homemade giardiniera that gets the tastebuds jumping.
This is my particular version. I make it at home frequently, though you typically need to make a larger batch, so plan accordingly. I call for jalapeno peppers in this recipe, as well as bell peppers, though serrano chili peppers are a very welcomed addition if you're looking for a bit more heat and bite. And if you REALLY want to kick this up a notch, go for the habanero pepper, or be like Mike and add in some superhots. I am still working on my Superhot Chili Pepper cookbook and have a superhot version of this recipe included. Yeah, baby. Bring on the heat!
This is certainly Chicago style, though, and won't blow your tastebuds with heat. You'll get a nice kick and plenty of flavor. Enjoy!
Patty's Perspective: It is amazing how versatile giardiniera can be. You don't only have to use it for sandwiches. We made some flatbread pizzas with it, and even tossed it over grilled salmon. Think of it as a vegetable sauce. Think outside the box!
Homemade Chicago-Style Giardiniera
- 6-8 jalapeno peppers, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 sweet banana peppers
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1/2 cup salt
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- Ground pepper
- 1 cup of white vinegar (or half white and half apple cider vinegar)
- 1 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup green olives, chopped
- To a large bowl, add all of the peppers with zucchini, carrot, celery, onion and cauliflower. Sprinkle with salt. Cover with water and refrigerate for 12 hours, covered.
- Drain and rinse away the brine. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl, add garlic, oregano, celery seed and ground pepper to taste. Add vinegar and oil and whisk to combine.
- Add to your vegetable mixture.
- Add chopped olives and mix well.
- Place it all into jars, ensuring the vegetables are covered with your vinegar/oil mixture.
- Refrigerate at least 2 days before using, to allow flavors to mingle. A week is better! Should last you 2-3 weeks.
Makes about 3 quarts.