Nearly all types of foods benefit from an acidic element. Acid rounds out flavors and keeps things interesting for your palate. Sometimes you don't even notice it in a dish, like a great beef stew, and other times it's a welcome punch in the mouth, like pickled jalapeno.
One of the best vehicles for delivering this hit of tartness is giardiniera (jar-din-era). While it's mostly known for being an essential element in the muffaletta and the Italian beef sandwiches, giardiniera is extremely versatile. It can be deployed in a wide array of dishes, and is absolutely delicious on top of grilled or roasted meat. Plus, it's dead simple to make and it lasts forever.
small/medium-sized head of cauliflower
2 medium carrots
2 stalks celery
3 cloves garlic
2 jalapenos (optional)
35 grams sugar
35 grams salt
1 1/3 cups water
1 1/3 cups white vinegar
1. Remove core from cauliflower and rough chop. Add to food processor and pulse in 3 second burst until the cauliflower is broken down into small pieces. Do not process it into mush. Transfer the contents into a bowl or quart container.
2. Peel carrot and remove stems. Chop roughly and pulse in food processor until they are the same size as the cauliflower. Transfer to container holding cauliflower.
3. Dice celery into small pieces and add to cauliflower and carrots.
4. Mince garlic and add to other vegetables.
5. Slice jalapeno, if using, and add to veggies.
6. Combine sugar, salt, water, and vinegar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove from heat and carefully pour into container holding all vegetables. Cover the container and let it come to room temperature.
7. Store in the fridge and deploy as needed. It’ll keep forever.