My Chicagoan friend Anthony turned me onto giardiniera years ago, and it was not easy to find. In 2012 I had to drive to an Italian deli in Santa Monica to find hot giardiniera. And let’s be clear, this is not the Italian Giardiniera you find at the grocery store. I tried that and sooo different! That kind is water-based with large chunks of vegetables because it’s an appetizer. Chicago-style giardiniera is small, chopped pieces of vegetables and is usually hot. It’s used as a condiment on sandwiches and other types of food and it’s delicious!
Needless to say I didn’t eat this often because I didn’t know where else to get it (and no, I didn’t think about ordering it online, for some reason), but when I did, I ate it on hot dogs. Just a flavorful condiment; so so good.
I moved to North Carolina for four years and the World Market actually sold Marconi Hot Giardiniera. Doug once bought me a case because they couldn’t always keep it on the shelf. Even when I switched to vegan sausage, I found it was so good with that, as well as mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese.
We moved back to Los Angeles and I was able to get it at the local World Market. And during the pandemic I ordered it online. It still didn’t stay on the shelves for long, and I found that Smart & Final sold a not-as-yummy-but-passable hot giardiniera made by First Street. And then they both stopped carrying it altogether. You can’t even find it on their website, which may change, but right now – nothing.
So I found a recipe that I’ve had to modify 3 times and I have a good Marconi substitute homemade giardiniera that I’m in love with and want to share! And listen, there are lots of giardiniera recipes that boast Chicago-style giardiniera, but this is the closest to Marconi that I have so far.
Also, this is a half batch compared to other online recipes because I prefer to make a little at a time since I’m the only person eating it in my house.
Ingredients for brining vegetables:
- 1/2 cup cauliflower chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 celery stalk chopped
- 3 jalapeno peppers chopped
- 3 serrano peppers chopped
- 1/4 cup salt
Directions for brining vegetables:
- Combine chopped vegetables and sprinkle with salt. Cover in cold water in a bowl or container with a lid and set in the refrigerator for 12 – 24 hours.
Ingredients for giardiniera:
- 1/2 cup canola oil (you can use olive oil, but it can solidify, so I prefer canola oil)
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 6 sport peppers diced (I use Marconi’s jar of sport peppers)
Directions for giardiniera:
- Drain and rinse vegetables and set aside.
- In separate bowl combine canola oil, vinegar, oregano, crushed red pepper, black pepper and whisk.
- Add brined vegetables and sport peppers and stir.
- Put in container(s) and cover in more oil if they are not covered.
- Set in refrigerator for 2 – 7 days before eating.
Other recipes say that the shelf life is around 3 weeks. Mine never lasts that long!