This classic Italian pickle, which makes a great antipasto, contains an array of vegetables preserved to maintain their distinctive flavors and textures. The recipe is flexible: use asparagus or green beans for any of the vegetables, or lemon thyme for the oregano.
Makes 6 one-pint jars
- 4 small zucchini, about 3/4 lb, cut into rounds 1/4 inch thick
- 10-12 celery stalks, cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
- 2 Tbsp kosher salt
- 6 ice cubes
- 3 cups white wine vinegar (6 percent acidity)
- 4 red bell peppers, about 1 1/2 lb, halved and seeded
- 3 or 4 carrots, peeled
- 6 fresh oregano sprigs
- 18 cloves garlic
- 6 bay leaves
- 1 Tbsp peppercorns
- 1 small head cauliflower, cut into small florets
- 6 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Have ready hot, sterilized jars and their lids
In a large nonreactive bowl, combine the zucchini and celery. Add 1 Tbsp of the salt and the ice cubes. Cover and refrigerate for 2–3 hours. Drain, rinse, and then drain well.
In a large nonreactive saucepan, combine the vinegar and the remaining 1 Tbsp salt. Add 3 cups water and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the salt.
Meanwhile, cut each bell pepper half into 4 rectangles. Cut the carrots into sticks about 1/4 inch thick and at least 1/2 inch shorter than the height of the jars.
In each jar, place 1 oregano sprig, 3 garlic cloves, 1 bay leaf, and 1/2 tsp peppercorns. Divide the vegetables among the jars, filling them to within 1 inch of the rims.
Ladle the hot brine into the jars, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace and adding more vinegar if needed. Remove any air bubbles and adjust the headspace, if necessary.
Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to each jar. Wipe the rims clean and seal tightly with the lids.
Process the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath. Let the jars stand undisturbed for 24 hours and then set them aside for 2 weeks for the flavors to develop. The sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. If a seal has failed, store the jar in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
This recipe is reprinted with permission from The Art of Preserving by Lisa Atwood, Rebecca Courchesne and Rick Field and published by Weldon Owen.