A million years ago, when I was running my chubby little legs off as a catering director at a Boston area university, there was a defacto group of businessmen with ties to Armenia, who used the university facilities once a month. The president of the university at the time, who I adored, was a member, so they got first cabin treatment including being able to bring in their own food. So on the last Thursday of the month, a courier from a local Armenian caterer would arrive with a tray of steak tartare sans egg, a huge pan of addictive Armenian string cheese with nigella seeds, bags of choereg, the soft bread usually available at Easter and a giant, and I mean giant, jar of this perfumey giardinera type relish of carrots, celery and cauliflower. They would order up Mateus rose wine and go through the food like butter through a hot knife. Then they would eat dinner….
Any way, I was thinking about this the other day because I found a different recipe for brussel sprouts. Not the usual roasted, glazed or steamed brussel sprouts that are found this time of year, but a giardinera with a suggested use on cold cut sandwiches or maybe on top of sliced and grilled chicken breast. Or you could add in a pita with falafel and hummus.
The recipe starts out with about a pound of shredded sprouts, a cup of thinly sliced carrots and thinly sliced shallots. I used the cuisinart for the sprouts and carrots and the mandoline for the shallots. There is also a serrano chile pepper sliced on the long side, in the mix.
The recipe calls for sliced fennel, but I had none hanging around, but I did have this nifty tin of fennel pollen which gives you the same flavor. So I mixed in about a tablespoon. Then I added Kosher salt, mixed everything in the bowl and stuck it in the fridge to get the water out.
Next morning, I mixed vinegar and oil, red pepper flakes and oregano and mixed together. I put the mix into a 1/2 quart jar and then poured the mix over and as you read this , the product is sitting in the back of my fridge, marinating …
The recipe says to let it “cook” for 3 days, so watch this space for an update!