Giardiniera – Here Are the Five Unique Styles of Italian Style Giardiniera
Have you ever tasted giardiniera? This specialty Italian style condiment, pronounced "Jar-din-air-ah", adds a jolt of flavor to pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and more. Let's take a look at the five different styles of giardiniera …
What Is Giardiniera?
If you have to ask, we can tell you 'not from Chicago … just kidding!
Let's get right down to it. Giardiniera is a condiment that is made to enhance the flavor of your favorite foods. There are a number of recipes, but the main ingredients are the same for the most part.
The word "giardiniera" means "from the garden" in Italian. It's the perfect name, because all the ingredients do in fact come from the garden. In a typical jar, you'll find peppers (hot or mild), celery, green olives, carrots, and other vegetables chopped and packed with special spices in shelf stable oil.
The uses for giardiniera are varied. It's perfect as an addition to pasta, on top of a slice of pizza, or with Italian beef or meatball sandwiches. Sub sandwiches are not complete without a fork full of giardiniera. You can even use it with scrambled eggs for breakfast!
There are several varieties of this versatile condiment. Let's break it down for you …
Most giardiniera is coarse cut. That means the vegetables are chopped in chunks. If you look at a jar of regular style, you will be able to recognize each of the vegetables. This style is most common. It is best used when baking it right into (or on top of) a dish, like lasagna or pizza.
The label says "relish style" but it also goes by finely chopped or minced. This style was invented by E. Formella and Sons in the early 1990's as an alternative condiment that would be neater to eat.
In essence, all the vegetables are finely chopped so the end product looks like a delicious … the kind you put on a hot dog. It is neater to eat than the regular style because you do not have to worry about olives, celery, or other vegetables rolling off your sandwich or slice of pizza. Relish style is best when added to your meal after it is completely prepared.
Now, on to the heat levels. The first is called hot, and it is the most popular. The heat comes entirely from the peppers, and not artificial red pepper flakes that are used by some manufacturers.
The result is a low, smoldering heat that complements your food rather than overwhelming it. In general, a few spoon or fork fulls is adequate to add a spicy kick to your meal. It is ideal for pizza or any kind of sandwich to add the true taste of Italy (or Chicago!).
Same great taste with no heat. It really is that simple! All the ingredients are the same, except for the peppers. A mild style is used instead of a hot variety. We like the mild style in the morning, with scrambled eggs or folded into an omelet.
We developed this version to satisfy those who like it hot, hotter, hottest! The extra hot style is made with scotch bonnet peppers, one of the hottest peppers known to man. Try it if you dare!
So there you have it, the five styles of giardiniera. We should add that all the heat levels (hot, mild, extra hot) can be enjoyed in both the regular and relish style.
Enjoy giardiniera in whatever way your imagination allows. It's great for leftovers, pasta salads, and in any recipes that need a little zip!