Have you ever bought a big jar of Italian preserved vegetables, only to get it home and wonder what in the world you are going to do with it? These pickled vegetables are great in many different dishes, and can be used to spice things up. Here are a few ideas.
Salad-Italian preserved vegetables are great tossed into salad. They add a spicy, tangy kick that pairs perfectly with fresh Parmesan cheese and homemade Italian dressing.
Condiments-Speaking of salad, these veggies can be chopped fine and added to your favorite salad dressing recipe to add a burst of flavor. Try making a simple vinaigrette or mixing them with mayonnaise for an interesting flavor.
Sandwiches-Try adding Italian preserved vegetables to any sandwich that needs an extra bit of peppery flavor. You can also create a Muffaletta by spreading a layer of chopped Italian vegetables on a piece of french bread, adding ham, salami, and Provolone cheese, and toasting it for a few minutes until the meat is warm and the cheese is melted. Some people finish this sandwich with a bit of mustard, but it is completely optional.
Peas-Many people in the south add a pepper sauce to their black-eyed or purple-hull peas at the table. This sauce is simply the vinegar solution from a bottle of hot peppers. Why not try adding a bit of the liquid from your Italian vegetables, instead? If you have the hot variety, the flavor will be similar to the spicy pepper sauce, but a more mild variety will produce a more subtle pickled flavor.
Pizza-Italian preserved vegetables make a delicious pizza topping. Slice them thin and use them with mushrooms for a great vegetarian option, or add them to pepperoni or Italian sausage for a fun twist.
Rice-If you are in the mood to try something different, consider adding Italian preserved vegetables to rice pilaf. It will have a stronger flavor than if you were using fresh vegetables, and because the vegetables have already been washed, processed, and broken down some, it will reduce your prep and cooking time quite a bit.
Bread-Artisan bread making is another great use for these veggies. Add them, roughly chopped, to your favorite Italian bread recipe for an unusual twist.
Soup-To add a depth of flavor to your favorite minestrone or Italian wedding soup, try adding a cup of chopped Italian preserved vegetables to the broth or stock as it cooks down. This would also work well for marinara. After the vegetables have cooked down, use an immersion blender to create a smooth texture.
Salsa-Use these vegetables to add a unique twist to your favorite salsa recipe. Just make sure to adjust the acid a bit. If your salsa recipe calls for lemon juice or vinegar, be sure to taste the vegetables before you put them in, and cut back on the acid accordingly.
With all of these ideas, you may want to go on and get two jars of Italian preserved vegetables instead of just one.