This recipe for ‘garden pickle’ was inspired by Italian cookery teacher, and former chef, Carla Tomasi, who teaches classic Italian cooking in Rome with a strong focus on using fresh local, seasonal and often homegrown vegetables. In her recipe, Carla briefly cooks the vegetables in the pickle solution, but we really like a crunchy pickle, so the vegetables are brined in a salt solution first before the vinegar is added. Some versions of a Giardiniera also add a layer of olive oil to the jar after the vinegar solution has been poured over, but we’ve left it out, as you can dress the pickled vegetables with oil when you serve them.
You can use any combination of vegetables but you will need approx 1 kg in total. The more colourful the vegetables, the prettier your pickle will be.
The resulting delicious pickle compliments an antipasto meal or would work equally well with a mezze, tapas spread or chopped into a grain or pasta salad bowl. Serve the pickles as they are or drizzled with some good olive oil.
Prep time: 30 minutes plus 8-12 hours salting
Cook time: 10 minutes
You will need 2 litre Kilner jar or 4x 500ml jam jars
- 200g courgette, cut into 4 cm batons
- 1 medium fennel, trimmed and sliced into thin wedges, fronds included
- 200g green beans, topped and tailed and cut in half
- 2 red, yellow or orange peppers, core and membrane removed and cut into 4 cm strips
- 300g cauliflower, broken into small bite sized florets
- 100g banana shallots, peeled and cut into thin wedges
- 2 medium carrots, sliced thinly on an angle or cut into 4cm batons
- 50g sea salt for salting vegetables
- 1 litre cold water
- Pickling Solution
- 750ml white wine vinegar
- 250ml water
- 50g white sugar
- 30g sea salt
For each jar allow:
- 1-2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- Place the prepared vegetables in a non-metallic bowl or plastic container, sprinkle over the salt, and toss well to coat.
- Add 1 litre of cold water to the vegetables, and place a plate weighted down with a dish to fully submerge the vegetables in the brine. Leave in a cool place for 8-12 hours or overnight.
- Once the vegetables have had their salting time, rinse and drain the vegetables and allow to drain and dry for 1 hour.
- To sterilise the jars place clean washed jars onto a tray in a preheated oven at 130° for 20 minutes. Switch the oven off and leave the jars inside until needed.
- When you are ready to make the pickle, remove the jars from the oven and pack tightly with the vegetables. Add the bay leaves, rosemary and peppercorns to the jars.
- Place the vinegar, water, sugar and salt in a large saucepan over a medium to high heat, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and salt. Allow to come to the boil for 5 minutes, then pour into the jars over the vegetables. Top up the jars with extra cold vinegar if necessary.
- Carefully tap the jars gently on the work top to ensure any trapped air bubbles rise to the surface, then screw or fix the lids on tightly.
- Leave the jars to cool and mature for a day, then store in the fridge and consume within 2 months.
Note: It’s also useful before you start to pack the chopped raw vegetables into the empty jars before sterilising them just to ensure you have the correct amount to fill them.
Delicious food photography by Rob Wicks of Eat Pictures.
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