Giardiniera, or mixed pickled vegetables, is what most Italians think of when they hear the words Sotto Aceti, a collection of mixed pickled vegetables. The standard Italian antipasto misto wouldn’t be quite right without these, and they also work very well with boiled meats in the winter months. This recipe will make about 2 1/2 pounds, and though you might be tempted to put it all into one big jar, you’ll be better off using several smaller jars because the contents of an open jar loose their freshness.
10 ounces (250 g) button onions, peeled and soaked in cold water for an hour
10 ounces (250 g) baby carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
10 ounces (250 g) white celery, stalks only, stripped of filaments and cut into short lengths
A medium-sized cauliflower
1 quart (1 liter) white wine vinegar (have more handy)
A couple of bay leaves
1 teaspoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt
Several sterile jars, with lids that seal well, and (if you can find them) the little plastic mesh depressors that keep the contents of a jar submerged
The vegetables listed are the standard ones one finds in almost every recipe, but you can add other things to suit your taste, for example, baby mushrooms, green beans, zucchini, baby cucumbers, or artichoke hearts — feel free to experiment.
Set the vinegar to boil with the herbs, spices, and salt. While it’s heating separate the cauliflower florets. When the vinegar comes to a boil, add the vegetables and cook them for about 15 minutes. Remove them to the jars with a slotted spoon and pour the boiling hot vinegar over them. You may need more boiling vinegar handy should that in which you cooked the vegetables are not sufficient. Cover the jars tightly and let them cool. Store them in a cool dark place for a couple of weeks, and they’re ready for use. Expect them to keep for a year.