Maybe it’s because I don’t get out enough, but I’d never heard of putting Giardiniera on a meatball sandwich before. Whomever came up with the idea should be knighted (if we knighted folks in the US). Add a bit of roasted red bell pepper and you have a super-easy-to-make incredibly yummy sandwich. Perfect any time, but also great because I almost always have the ingredients to make Giardiniera meatball sandwiches on hand. I used mild Giardiniera when making these meatball sandwiches, but hot would be fantastic too. Just chop it up a bit before spooning it on top.
I did ‘cheat’ and use frozen meatballs. If I’d had more time to throw dinner together, I would’ve made a batch of my Italian meatballs. I try to keep some on hand at all times, but truth is, they are just so good that there’s just never any leftovers.
I was toodling around the house the other day, with the TV on in the background, when I heard a young lady say “okra giardiniera” in a southern voice. I instantly stopped what I was doing, grabbed the Tivo remote, and backed the show up a bit to see what exactly “okra giardiniera” was. The show was Kimberly’s Simply Southern on the GAC network, and Miss Kimberly (from the country group Little Big Town) was making hot dogs topped with okra giardiniera. And so… I made it too. I had to. It has okra in it.
It takes 2 days to make the mix, so don’t get in too big of a big rush. But it is so worth the time. The end result is lightly pickled (not too strong on the vinegar), with a little oil (almost like an olive salad), and a lot crunchy. Don’t fear the okra slime… you can rinse almost all of it away after the first day. Personally, I’ll eat okra any time, any way, full slime or not (see my Southern fried okra).
Oh, and I went with bigger cuts on the veggies just to get more crunch. That’s just me, you can make them as big or as small as you want.
Next up, I’m going to top a muffuletta sandwich with this giardiniera. I know it’ll be outstanding!
1 cup sliced fresh okra (frozen okra, thawed works just fine)
1 cup diced carrots
3-6 jalapeños, seeded (if desired), diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, diced
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place the salt, okra, carrots, jalapeños, garlic, celery and red bell peppers into a resealable container. Add enough cold water to just cover the vegetables. Seal and place in the fridge overnight.
Pour the mixture into a caldron and rinse well. You can mix the vegetables a bit to get them really rinsed well (read: remove any okra slime), but don't be too aggressive or all of the tasty okra seeds will fly out.
Return vegetables to the resealable container.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, oregano, and pepper. Pour over the vegetables and stir gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The giardiniera is ready to use the next stay. It will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.