How many people outside of Chicago (or Italian households) could tell you exactly what Giardiniera is?
According to this story, giardiniera (Pronounced JAR - DIH - NAIR - AH) is a classic condiment which became famous because of the Italian beef sandwiches, purported to be from the success of Al's Beef in Chicago.
The idea of using giardiniera as a condiment meant that it would eventually be put on anything, be it eggs, sandwiches, salads, French fries, shoe leather, etc. Most condiments, should they become very popular, become the focal point of a meal and the goal is now to find something new and different for that condiment to go on as an excuse to eat that condiment.
The Italian version generally includes onions, celery, zucchini, carrots, and cauliflower. The pickled vegetables are in red- or white-wine vinegar.
American giardiniera is commonly made with Serrano peppers along with a combination of assorted vegetables, including bell peppers, olives, celery, pimentos, carrots, and cauliflower, and sometimes crushed red pepper flakes, all marinated in vegetable oil, olive oil, soybean oil, or any combination of the three. It is also common to see it pickled in vinegar.
I can't wait to try my hand at my own homemade giardiniera.
Here's another take on a recipe.