A hot brine redolent with traditional pickling flavors makes a quick and well-seasoned giadiniera .
MAKES four 1-pint jars VEG
WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS In Italy, giardiniera refers to pickled vegetables that are typically eaten as an antipasto. Many versions in the United States consist of a combination of pickled cauliflower, carrots, celery, and sweet and hot peppers—the perfect tangy, spicy foil to rich meats and cheeses. But grocery store versions tend to fall flat, with too-salty brines and washed-out flavors. To make our own quick-pickled version (no sterilization required), we prepped the vegetables, transferred them to jars, and topped them with a hot, flavorful brine. Once the jars were cool, we simply refrigerated them until the vegetables had absorbed the traditional pickling flavors: garlic, dill, sugar, salt, and mild white wine vinegar.
½ head cauliflower (1 pound), cored and cut into ½-inch florets
3 carrots, peeled and sliced ¼ inch thick on bias
3 celery ribs, cut crosswise into ½-inch pieces
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch-wide strips
2 serrano chiles, stemmed and sliced thin
4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
1 cup chopped fresh dill
2¾ cups white wine vinegar
2¼ cups water
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1. Combine cauliflower, carrots, celery, bell pepper, serranos, and garlic in large bowl, then transfer to four 1-pint jars with tight-fitting lids.
2. Bundle dill in cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine to secure. Bring dill sachet, vinegar, water, sugar, and salt to boil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and let steep for 10 minutes. Discard dill sachet.
3. Return brine to brief boil, then pour evenly over vegetables. Let cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until vegetables taste pickled, at least 7 days or up to 1 month.
Cutting Up a Bell Pepper
1.Slice off top and bottom of pepper and remove seeds and stem. Slice down through side of pepper.
2.Lay pepper flat and trim away remaining ribs and seeds. Cut pepper into ½-inch-wide strips.