Nervous of a Soggy Pickle
October 6, 2018
Giardiniera, or Garden Pickle.
Giardiniera is a typical Italian pickle. On holiday, I sometimes buy a commercial version from the supermarket, to eat with a picnic. It consists of little chunks of crunchy vegetables in a sharp, vinegary brine; something like piccalilli without the mustard.
At Trattoria Anzolo Raffaele in Venice, Luigi makes his own to serve with Prosciutto San Daniele and salumi. He said it’s very simple to make, but laughed when I asked him for a recipe. Read my post here: https://wp.me/p7AW4i-7h
I found it hard to track down a recipe, so I was pleased to find one in Veneto; Recipes from an Italian Country Kitchen, by Valeria Necchio. She recommends blanching each vegetable in turn, before pickling in sterilised jars.
The main difference from Luigi’s is that he described putting the raw veg in jars, covering with the brine, and then steaming them in a water bath for half an hour.
Nervous of a soggy pickle, I embarked on an experiment.
I used two x one pint Kilner jars with screw top lids. The ingredients were based approximately on Valeria Necchio’s recipe, and could be varied according to what’s available.
400 ml cider vinegar (I prefer using it to white wine vinegar in pickles, it’s milder).
400 ml water
0.5 tablespoon caster sugar
0.5 tablespoon sea salt
1 bay leaf
0.5 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 juniper berries, lightly crushed
1 red chilli (I used a small fresh Sardinian peperoncino brought back from holiday)
100g carrots, peeled and sliced thickly on the diagonal
Half a red pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
Half a yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
150g cauliflower florets
50g celery, cut into thin strips
75g shallots, peeled and quartered
75g small courgettes, cut into strips
I used a bunch of mixed heritage carrots, yellow, white, orange and purple. It was the purple ones that gave the finished pickle its pretty colour.
Put the vinegar, water, sugar and salt into a large pan, and bring to the boil. Add the bay, peppercorns, juniper and chilli, and simmer for five minutes to infuse. Allow to cool.
Sterilise your jars (a quick cycle in the dishwasher is a good way) and dry them in a low oven.
At this point, I decided to follow Luigi’s description; I didn’t want to blanch the vegetables and risk losing their crunch.
Fill the jars with the mixed vegetables. Strain the pickling liquid to cover, and press the vegetables down to remove any air bubbles, ensuring they are completely submerged. Close tightly with clean, dry lids.
Store the pickles in a cool dry place for up to 3 months, and refrigerate once opened.
Trattoria Anzolo Raffaele
Veneto: The Cookbook
Twickenham Farmers Market