The Giardiniera is made of pickled vegetables; the pickling makes it possible to preserve vegetables in season when
they are abundant and conserve them for some time. It is a somewhat complicated proceeding because it requires the
preparation of the pickling liquid and then the cooking of all vegetables in separate boiling water and when cooked
transferring it into a large bowl of ice and water to stop the cooking and finally, after draining and patting dry,
mixing the vegetables with the pickling liquid.
The pickling liquid made with a vinegar mixture, has to be well acidulated in order to preserve the vegetables and
because it tastes very vinegary, the Giardiniera was never one of my preferred side dish.
When I was cooking in our Focacceria, a Sicilian eating house, we made the Giardiniera in the traditional way, it
was colorful and showy and we used it as a garnish to decorate most dishes. I noticed that most of the time people
would not eat the Giardiniera and to my despair, I knew that most of our customers disliked the strong vinegary
In one of my trips to Sicily, as a guest for lunch in a farmhouse, it was served i sutt’acitu, pickled vegetables,
among a variety of cheeses, salami, salads, herrings etc. The pickled vegetables, looked like the ones I was making
back home, except for an abundance of green and black olives and the degree of sourness that was much lower and
very agreeable. I asked a lot of questions and received a few hints on how to make it, and when I returned to the
States, I came up with this version of Giardiniera, very easy to prepare and very pleasing to your palate.
12 cups of
cups of distilled white vinegar
cauliflower (over 2 lb.) separate head into florets, bite size, and wash
wash well and cut into 1 inch pieces
red bell pepper, sliced into ½ inch pieces
yellow bell pepper, sliced into ½ inch pieces
carrots peeled and cut into ¼ inch slices, to make 3 cups
pearl onions, peeled. Or use an 8 oz jar of large cocktail onions
box frozen artichokes heart, defrosted and cut in half or in quarts
can add any other vegetable, like mushrooms, eggplants, etc
Also secure an
oz. jar of Tuscan sweet peperoncini, drained of their brine. Buy only imported from Italy or
oz. Sicilian style green olives in brine, pitted
12 oz. oil
cured black olives, pitted
1½ cup canola
virgin olive oil
cup distilled white vinegar
few pinches of
hot red pepper flakes
taste for salt
and add if needed
stainless steel 6 or 8 qt sauce pot
steel 3 quarts saucepan
plastic containers to storage the marinated vegetables
In the 8 quart pot, mix all ingredients for the pickling liquid, transfer 2 cups of it to the small saucepan and
bring to a boil.
In a large bowl combine the condiments except for the bay leaves that you will add last.
Add cauliflower florets to the boiling liquid in the large pot, bring to a boil and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, until
al dente and not overcooked.
When cauliflower is done, use a slatted spoon to transfer cooked vegetables to a big bowl.
In the same water, cook the celery for 6 minutes and in the same manner cook artichokes for 1 minute.
If you add other vegetables cook for 3 to 6 minutes, until al dente.
Use your judgment and taste the vegetables to make sure they are properly cooked.
Cook fresh pearl onions for 4 minutes. You can substitute pearl onions for small red onions, cut into quarters and
cook for 4 minutes. Boil onions last.
Bring the small saucepan to a boil, add carrots and cook for 6 minutes. If using tiny baby carrots reduce time to 3
In the small pot add the yellow pepper and follow with red pepper, cooking each for 4 minutes.
When you have all cooked vegetables in the bowl, add a jar of peperoncini, olives and mix.
Taste for salt and if you like a more pungent Giardiniera add some more vinegar.
Mix in bay leaves last and make sure the vegetables are submerged, adding some of the pickling liquid if
Store in a plastic or glass containers. Serve as antipasto or side dish.
It will keep refrigerated for about a month.