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Tasting Table Gets Chef Kalman’s Giardiniere Recipe

April 7, 2015

Tasting Table’s put together an awesome feature on Bruce Kalman and his unforgettable giardiniere. They even reveal his recipe which we’ve copied and pasted below. If you’re the kind of person who loves to cook, here’s a great recipe that will you look like a pro. Enjoy! Read the full article here or see below.

Bread, Butter and Pickles

Bruce Kalman’s giardiniere recipe packs some heat
April is Homegrown Month at Tasting Table.
There are many stories we could tell to explain why Bruce Kalman’s giardiniere pickles (see the recipe) are so good.
We could tell you about how Kalman, the chef-owner of Cal-Italian restaurant Union in Pasadena, California, first caught the Italian bug at age 13, when he started working at Savino’s pizzeria in his hometown of Paramus, New Jersey. And how his cooking career would take him to Chicago, where he further honed his skills in both restaurants and hotels.
Or how he became a pickling aficionado when he launched his company Bruce’s Prime Pickle Co. in 2013.
Chef Bruce Kalman wraps the mixer in plastic wrap before making butter | Serrano chiles add heat to the giardiniere toasts | Kalman pours the brine over vegetables
But what we really want to tell you is this: Once you start eating his giardiniere—a punchy, crunchy mix of cauliflower, onion, carrots, celery and pickled chiles—you won’t be able to stop.
“A chef friend of mine, Ted Cizma, is from Chicago and said that I had to make giardiniere. It was so popular with Bruce’s Prime Pickle Co. that we used to make them in 1,000-pound batches,” Kalman laughs.
The pickled serrano chiles give the giardiniere the signature heat that the Windy City accoutrement is known for, while dried oregano gives it a touch of I-talian flair. At Union, Kalman serves the pickles with thick slices of sourdough boule from Etxea Basque Bakery and a generous pat of tangy cultured butter, which he makes in-house using crème fraïche. The path to brine-splattered heaven is simple: Take bread. Schmear on butter. Pile on giardiniere. Eat, letting the olive oil and white vinegar dribble down your chin. Repeat.
Angelenos are lucky: Kalman’s going to be jarring the bad boys again and selling them at his soon-to-open Pasta Bar in Downtown’s bustling Grand Central Market, where he’ll be making signature pastas like strozzapreti with rabbit on-site. But the rest of us will just have to make them ourselves.
“This particular recipe is spicy; it’s sweet; it’s a little salty; it’s definitely tart—it hits every part of your palate,” Kalman says. “The finish is the oil that has just enough chile to coat your palate. It sort of becomes buried in your subsconcious.”
Kalman continues, “It’s good on everything we’ve tried. Scrambled eggs, sandwiches, a bagel and cream cheese, or chop it up and use it as a relish.”
Sorry, Bruce, were you still talking? We’re crunching it straight out of the jar.

Giardiniere Pickles

Recipe adapted from Bruce Kalman, Union, Pasadena, CA
At his Pasadena, California, restaurant, Union, chef-owner Bruce Kalman takes the beloved Italian American pickles known as giardiniere and refines them just a tad. He infuses the vinegar with serrano chiles, then pours the cooled brine over perfectly shaved vegetables. Mustard seed and, of course, a little bit of dried oregano give it extra oomph.
Kalman then spoons the spicy pickle mixture onto warm toast that’s been slathered with his homemade cultured butter. Each bite hits all the savory notes you’re looking for in a snack.
Yield: 5 cups
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes


For the Butter:
1 cup buttermilk
3 cups heavy cream
For the Giardiniere:
2 cups distilled white vinegar
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons kosher salt
3 serrano chiles
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch dice
½ medium yellow onion, very thinly sliced
1¼ cups small (about ½-inch) cauliflower florets
1¼ cups very thinly sliced carrots (about 3 medium carrots)
2 medium celery stalks, very thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon whole yellow mustard seeds
1½ teaspoons dried oregano
¼ cup olive oil
Sourdough, toasted


1. Make the cultured butter: In a stand mixer, whip the buttermilk and heavy cream on medium-high speed until the solids separate, 10 to 15 minutes. If you’re worried about any spillage, tightly wrap the top of the bowl with plastic wrap. Reserve the leftover buttermilk for another use.
2. Build an ice bath using 4 cups of cold water and 2 cups of ice.
3. Place the butter solids in a fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl.
4. Spoon ½ cup of ice water over the butter and gently knead (like dough) to remove all of the remaining buttermilk. Knead and rinse until the liquid that seeps out is clear and all of the water is removed.
5. Place the butter on a piece of wax paper and roll into a log. Chill in the fridge to firm.
6. Make the giardiniere: In a medium pot, combine the vinegar, sugar and salt, and bring to a boil. Add the chiles and cook until they are cooked through and the green color begins to dull, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the chiles to cool completely in the vinegar.
7. When the chiles are cool, slice into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Reserve the pickling liquid.
8. In a mixing bowl, combine the pickling liquid with the sliced chiles and all remaining ingredients (except the bread). Allow to marinate for 1 to 2 days before serving. Place in an airtight container and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
9. Spread some butter over a piece of warm sourdough toast. Top with the giardiniere and serve.

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