Friday, April 12, 2013

Spicy Pickled Cauliflower

Giardiniera, or sotto aceti is an Italian pickle, consisting of Cauliflower, onions, celery and zucchini.  Here in the U.S. they replace zucchini with carrots, and put in bell peppers and other vegetables depending on the brand, which ever it is, it is usually spicy, and has a great bite for the vinegar.  In Chicago, a version where they make it with oil, instead of vinegar, is made famous by Italian beef sandwich shops, but that is a whole different animal, or I guess vegetable.

Giadiniera is also one of my favorite snacks between meals, as the sharp bite, and heat, really give you a boost, the problem is, even as a kid my favorite part was the cauliflower, and often the jars only have 2 or 3 pieces, add in I don't care for celery, and carrots are not very keto friendly, and it just made too much sense not to make my own.

Disclaimer: I am not a canner, evident by the Empty Goya Olive jar used for this, and this is a refrigerator pickle, so it can not be stored outside the fridge, although I am sure a proper canner could easily do a version that is.


Half a head of Cauliflower
2/3 cup Distilled white vinegar
1 Tbsp of black pepper corns
1 Tbsp of red pepper flake
1 Tbsp of Oregano
2 cups of water roughly
1 Tbsp non Iodized salt
 1 bay leaf

In a sauce pan or stock pot, place a wire rack, and fill with water and your jar(s) and bring to a boil to kill any bacteria that may be on the jar.

In a sauce pan, take your pepper corns and a Tbsp of the vinegar and let the liquid reduce over medium heat, you should be left with a brown syrupy liquid and your peppercorns, this is called Au Sec, and we are extracting the pepper flavor, once the liquid is au sec, add your remaining spices and let them come to a hard boil.  While your jar is boiling and your pickling liquid is coming to temp, break you cauliflower into small pieces. Remove your jar and stuff as many pieces of cauliflower into your jar as possible, followed by your now boiling pickling liquid.

You will most likely have spare liquid just make sure you cover the veg completely.  Also I want to point out, making sure the jar is brought to temp by starting it in the pot while the water is cold and is then brought to temp will insure that the glass does not crack.

Once it is sealed, let it come to room temp on the counter, then store in the fridge.  it will taste good as soon as it is cold, but after a day or so the flavors really intensify.

In case you are not aware of the nutritional content of cauliflower, here is the nutritional data for approx the entire jar, you won't need more than 1-2 pieces however, unless you know, you REALLY like vinegar.

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