Italian Giardiniera is a classic fermented food that is part of the Mediterranean Diet
Leda Scheintaub, author of Cultured Foods for Your Kitchen shares one of her favorite recipes from her book. We highly recommend adding her cookbook to your collection.
We think you’ll enjoy this classic Italian condiment, made by salt brining the vegetables instead of the usual pickling in vinegar. It is lovely served as part of a pasta dish, over soup, or as a side. There are many ways to be creative here. Both crisp and nourishing, this dish is perfect for any season!
1small to mediumhead cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 4 cups)
1smallred bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1smallyellow or orange bell pepper, cored, seeded, and thinly sliced
1largecarrot, thinly sliced
1large stalkcelery, thinly sliced
6clovesgarlic, thinly sliced
1 to 2tspred chili flakes
1 1/2quartsBasic Salt Brine1.5 Liters
In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the brine. Transfer the mixture to a 2-quart (2-liter) jar or crock or two 1-quart (1-liter) jars. Pour enough brine over the vegetables to cover them with at least 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) of space remaining at the top. Place a glass filled with water or a small ramekin with a rock placed in it that fits snugly into your jars and press down on it until the brine rises over the level of the vegetables.
Place the jar on a rimmed plate (a glass pie plate works nicely) to catch any potential overflow, cover with a clean dish towel to keep out insects, and set aside in a cool place away from sunlight to ferment.
After 2 days, check your vegetables, removing mold if any develops (don’t worry if you don’t get all of the mold; you’ve created an anaerobic environment in which it is almost impossible for bad bacteria to take root). When you check your vegetables, occasionally taste one to see how far they’ve fermented and decide if they have soured to your liking.
Your gardiniera will be ready in 4 to 5 days, depending on the season and kitchen temperature and how tangy and crunchy you like it. Remove the weight, cover, and place in the refrigerator, where it will keep for about 6 months.
Leda Scheintaub is the author of Cultured Foods for Your Kitchen: 100 Recipes Featuring the Bold Flavors of Fermentation (Rizzoli, 2014). She is also the author, with Whole Foods Encyclopedia author Rebecca Wood, of The Whole Bowl: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Soups and Stews (Countryman Press, 2015). You can visit her at www.ledaskitchen.com. Leda and her husband, Nash Patel, run Dosa Kitchen, a farm-to-truck Indian eatery based in Brattleboro, Vermont. The two of them currently are collaborating on the Dosa Kitchen Cookbook.