UPDATE: First, I want to thank all of you who commented and shared your preserving traditions and memories. There is no way I could have chosen a winner, so I passed the duty on to my daughter, who randomly picked a name out of a bowl. And the winner is…Cooking My Life. CONGRATULATIONS, Maureen!
Thanks again to all who participated. You’ve inspired me to keep on preserving…
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Last week I introduced you to my latest book, Preserving Italy: Canning, Curing, Infusing, and Bottling Italian Flavors and Traditions, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Today is book’s official release date, so let’s celebrate with a giveaway, and a recipe.
The giveaway. It’s easy: simply leave a comment telling me something about your favorite preserve. Is there a homemade jam you love to spread on toast? Did your nonna or mamma make giardiniera? Have you made limoncello or cured your own pancetta (or do you aspire to)? The world of preserving ~ Italian and beyond ~ is wide and wonderful. What do you love to make ~ or eat? Share a link to a preserving recipe on your blog if you like.
Be sure to enter your email address (which will not be posted) so I can contact you if you are the winner. A winner will be chosen at random. The winner will be announced here on Tuesday, June 21, 2016, so please check this post for an update. The winner must contact me by the end of Tuesday, June 28, 2016, or the book will go to a randomly chosen runner up. (Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.)
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The recipe. Pictured at the top of this post is a jar of pickled garlic scapes ~ the swirly shoots and buds of the garlic plant. In Abruzzo they are called “zolle.” They are a specialty of Sulmona, which is famous for its aglio rosso (red garlic). The shoots appear in June. Harvesting them allows the plant to focus its energy on bulb growth. Scapes are good in lots of recipes, including pesto, but I especially like to pickle them.
Preserving vegetables (and other foods such as fish) in oil is a classic Italian preserving technique ~ there is a chapter devoted to it in the book. The oil prevents the food’s exposure to air; it also cuts the sharp flavor of the vinegar. In this recipe, typical of what you find around Sulmona, garlic scapes are cut into short lengths, plunged briefly into a boiling vinegar brine, and then submerged in olive oil. The garlic flavor in the pickled scapes is mild and lightly pungent, and goes particularly well with sheep’s milk ricotta and pecorino. Serve pickled zolle as part of an antipasto platter, scramble them into a frittata, or scatter them on top of pizza.
If you’d like to learn a little more about the book, please tune in to my recent Splendid Table interview. And please check the Events page for book signings, cooking classes, Preserving Italy dinners, and more.
There are still a couple of spots left for tomorrow’s Preserving Italy dinner at Le Virtù.
On Saturday, June 18, I’ll be offering samples and signing books at Salt & Sundry, Union Market, D.C.
Also, if you have and are enjoying the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon.
Good luck with the giveaway, and happy preserving!
Pickled garlic scapes, known as "zolle" in Abruzzo, are a specialty of Sulmona. The scapes are first pickled in vinegar and then preserved in oil. Serve pickled scapes with cheese on crostini or as part of an antipasto platter. They are also good on pizza, in sandwiches, and in frittatas.
- 1 pound garlic scapes
- 2 cups white wine vinegar (see NOTES)
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Have on hand 4 sterilized half-pint jars (or 2 pint-size jars) and their lids (see NOTES).
Cut the scapes into 1 1/2- to 2-inch lengths, removing any tought parts at the bottom and the thinnest part above the small bulbous tip.
In a saucepan large enough to hold all the scapes, bring the vinegar to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the salt and let it dissolve. Add the scapes to the pot and cover. Return the vinegar to a boil and boil, stirring once or twice, until the scapes have lost their bright green color and are just tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
Drain the scapes in a colander set in the sink. Spread on a clean kitchen towel and let dry for 1 hour. Shuffle them around once or twice during this time to make sure they dry on all sides.
Pack the scapes into the jars, leaving 1 inch head space. Pour enough olive oil into the jars to cover the scapes completely. Use a bubble remover or a clean chopstick to dislodge any air bubbles and press down on the scapes to submerge them.
Screw the lids on tightly and let sit at room temperature for 24 hours. Let the scapes cure in the refrigerator for 1 week before using, then store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. To serve, remove from the jar only as much as you plan to use and let it come to room temperature. Top off the jar with more oil as necessary to keep the remaining scapes submerged.
These pickles have a pronounced vinegar flavor. If you want to soften the flavor, substitute up to 1 cup water for up to 1 cup of the vinegar ~ no more, as you do not want to dilute the preserving ability of the vinegar. You can also add a little sugar to the brine, if you like.
These pickles do not call for sealing in a water bath; they are stored in the refrigerator. However, to minimize the growth of mold or other micro-organisms, I prefer to sterilize the jars and lids. To sterilize jars, wash them with soapy water, rinse, and then boil in a water bath for 10 minutes; or wash in soapy water, rinse, and heat in a 285 F oven for 30 minutes. Wash the lids in hot soapy water, rinse, submerge in simmering water for a few minutes.