In the United States, giardiniera is commonly available in traditional or spicy varieties, and the latter is sometimes referred to as "hot mix". Giardiniera is a versatile condiment that can be used on a variety of different foods. We love it on sandwiches and appetizers. In Chicago it is not uncommon to use giardiniera on pizza. Chicago specifically is where we find our inspiration for this recipe because instead of holding in brine, we hold and marinate the pickled vegetables in oil.
1 (50 count) pack petite mixed vegetables
5 black peppercorns
1 pinch red chili flakes
½ tsp mustard seeds (optional)
1 bay leaf
1 cup water
¼ c white distilled vinegar
¼ c granulated sugar
2 tsp salt
In a small sauce pot on medium heat, toast the peppercorns, chili flakes, and bay leaf. Pour in the water, vinegar, salt, and sugar. Allow to simmer for a few minutes while prepping the vegetables.
Trim the tops and split each vegetable in half. Place them all in a small jar just large enough to hold all of them. Pour the hot brine over the vegetables and allow them to rest on the counter until the brine comes to room temperature. Pour off the brine and top the vegetables off with vegetable oil.