there’s this condiment that i adore call giardiniera. it’s a mix of vegetables picked in spicy oil and i put it on everything. in sandwiches and pasta; i dip bread in it and eat it with a fork. the veggies are cut small and stay really crispy and it’s always a great contrast to whatever i’m eating.
when i was browsing recipes on food & wine i came across this summer salad that was kind of a tribute to that condiment but amped up a little. i modified the recipe quite a bit to include asparagus in the pickling portion, and omitted the beans and sunflower seeds to keep it super simple. the recipe called for a mix of coloured cauliflower which would have been amazing if my local grocery store stocked it – the mix of purple, green and orange florets would have been a lovely nod to spring. sweet ham and filling white beans round this salad out – top it with a poached egg and it makes the perfect dinner!
giardiniera salad + white beans + ham
*adapted from food and wine
3/4 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
4 cups cauliflower cut into small florets (a mix of colours if you can find it!)
1 bunch of asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
one 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed
4 ounces thickly sliced ham, shredded or chopped
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoon dried chili flakes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
freshly ground pepper
• set a resealable plastic bag in a bowl and add the vinegar, sugar and 2 tablespoons of salt. bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. add the asparagus and cauliflower and blanch until crisp-tender, about 1 minute. using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to the plastic bag. add 2 cups of cold water. seal the bag, pressing out the air; freeze for 15 minutes.
• once the veggies are ready, add to a large bowl with beans, ham, chili flakes and parsley. pour olive oil over top and toss gently. serve immediately (or later with a poached egg)